Grandson Saves Choking Grandfather

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When 12-year-old Landon Tucker took American Red Cross training in First Aid and CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation), little did he know he would use that training to help his grandfather when he choked while eating breakfast.

Click the image to learn what to do when you see someone choking
Carl McGowan and his grandson were home alone recently, enjoying breakfast, when a piece of sausage became lodged in McGowan’s throat. His wife Martha and a neighbor, who happens to be a paramedic, were both at work.

McGowan knew his grandson had taken the Red Cross classes at school, and asked Tucker if he knew what to do. Tucker said he had been trained, but had never actually performed the skills on anyone.

“I told him now would be a good time to try it,” Carl said. “He was scared. He tried to help me and was successful after several tries.”

McGowan credits Tucker with saving his life and is thankful his grandson had access to Red Cross training. “Being trained is very important,” Carl said. “Landon saved me. I want to thank him for everything he did.”

The Red Cross has information available for download on how to help someone – adult, child or infant – who is choking, and how to perform back blows and abdominal thrusts.

The Red Cross also offers classes in First Aid, CPR and the use of an AED (automated external defibrillator), and recommends that at least one person in every household be trained. People can also take Red Cross babysitter and lifeguard training, learn how to swim, take training on first aid for use in wilderness and remote settings, sports safety training, even first aid for pets. Classes are available for individuals as well as for businesses and organizations.

According to a Red Cross survey, many have witnessed someone choking. One person in ten surveyed reported they needed help themselves because they had choked on something. Most often, 57 percent of the time, a family member came to their aid, while in 30 percent of the instances the people had to help themselves. The survey also revealed that most choking incidents occur at home, with a high percentage also occurring in a restaurant.

This year there’s still plenty of time to resolve to protect yourself and your loved ones by taking a Red Cross class. Landon Tucker and his grandfather understand the importance of First Aid training firsthand and now know what to do when an emergency occurs.


Two Gastonia employees put first aid skills to work

Pictured (from left): Chuck Bridger, community executive at the American Red Cross; Red Valve employee Netha Robbins; Ann Holt, Red Cross Nurses Aid Training manager; Red Valve employee Suzette Wilson; and Ben Payne, Red Valve plant manager.

The Gaston County Chapter of the American Red Cross recently awarded two local Red Valve employees with Certificates of Merit, which are the highest awards given by the Red Cross to an individual who sustains a life by using skills and knowledge learned in an American Red Cross course.

In January this year, Stella Holland arrived at work at Red Valve in Gastonia, complaining of chest pain. Thanks to the quick-thinking and skills of co-workers Netha Robbins and Suzette Wilson, Stella received the care and attention she needed.

Netha and Suzette Wilson called 911 and provided care – including utilizing an automated external defibrillator – until emergency medical help arrived. 

“We are thrilled that Netha and Suzette were able to put their Red Cross skills to good use and help Stella in her time of need,” said Chuck Bridger, local Red Cross community executive. “Situations like this illustrate the importance of being trained in CPR and first aid skills.”

Red Valve has been utilizing Red Cross CPR training for 12 years and has eight dedicated first responders in its plant.

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Caldwell County PE teachers brush up on CPR skills

Moira Brookshire, from South Caldwell High School, does a finger sweep of a mannequin during CPR training.

On Monday morning, American Red Cross instructors trained nearly 40 physical education teachers in CPR and First Aid.

Instructors from South Caldwell High, Hibriten and William Lenoir Middle schools (among others) became certified in life-saving skills.

Jon Gragg, teacher at William Lenoir Middle School, performs chest compressions on a mannequin during CPR training.

“We are thrilled to be able to train our local teachers in CPR because having that skill is so vital,” said Suzan Anderson, local Red Cross community executive. “These teachers are trusted with students on a daily basis, and they are empowered with life-saving knowledge.”

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Day after First Aid demonstration on TV, Red Cross instructor puts skills to use!

Barbara Brant

Barbara Brant, a Red Cross instructor for the last 25 years, happily agreed to be featured on WCNC’s Charlotte Today program on Tuesday. She walked through First Aid and CPR for infants, demonstrating how the everyday person can save a life. 

The next day, on Wednesday, Barbara found herself in a situation where she had to put her skills to use. She was out to lunch with some Red Cross colleagues. On her way back to the office, she saw an ice cream truck engulfed in smoke.

Barbara and her peers pulled over, and they found the driver standing outside the vehicle talking on the phone. They ensured that first reponders had been called and proceeded to administer First Aid.

“He was sweating profusely, shaking and told me he had a history of a heart condition,” Barbara said. “He had inhaled some of the smoke fumes as well.”

She helped the driver into her air-conditioned vehicle and loosened his shirt. She began to wipe him down with a damp towel.

“His breathing became shallow and fast, his eyes got a glassy stare and his skin color began to get a grayish color,” Barbara recalled, noting his heartbeat was irregular.  She continued to wipe him down, encouraged him to take deep breaths and exhale them slowly.

Gradually, the driver began to breathe normally and his skin color began to stabilize.  When the EMT  arrived on the scene and checked him out, his vitals were back in the normal range and his heart rate was no longer irregular.

The driver remained in the vehicle until he felt he could safely walk with Barbara’s assistance back  to the police vehicle and remained there until someone from his company could pick him up.

 “With the right training, anyone can help during an emergency,” Barabara said. “Situations like this are exactly why it’s important for everyone to get trained in First Aid and CPR.”

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