PHOENIX - If you saw someone who's choking, would you know how to help save them?
It's not tough, according to Bob Blatz, an instructor with the American Red Cross in Phoenix. He teaches classes about how to do back slaps and abdominal thrusts, which have replaced the Heimlich maneuver in first aid classes.
Here's how you can help save someone who's choking, according to Blatz:
1. Call 911.
2. Let the person know you're there to help.
3. Stay at arm's length, so you don't get into the bubble of someone who's panicking.
4. Once the person is not breathing anymore, get consent to help him or her.
5. Back blows: lean the person forward 90 degrees and use the base of your hand to strike the area between the shoulder blades five times. And hit hard, so you try to knock loose whatever's obstructing the airway.
6. If that doesn't clear the airway, get ready for abdominal thrusts.
7. Abdominal thrusts: Get behind the person who's choking. Put your finger on his or her belly button. Step around the person and put your leg between his or her legs, creating a seat for the person to sit on. Then cup your fist for support and scoop up into the stomach (in a thrusting motion) five times.
8. If the person is still choking, go back and forth between the back blows and abdominal thrusts until first responders arrive and take over.
You can find out more about the process and take classes with the Phoenix chapter of the American Red Cross.