Devine ISD recently honored custodian, Robert Hernandez, for jumping into action when he saw a student choking in the cafeteria. “He responded quickly and effectively in an emergency situation. Thank you for serving our students, Robert!” said Devine ISD. Approximately one child dies from choking every five days in the United States. That staggering number makes the actions of Hernandez even more outstanding, while also reminding us all of the importance of learning a simple maneuver that saves lives.
Hernandez is a custodian at Devine Intermediate School.
“I was just waiting for the kids to head out so we could clean the tables and sweep the floor,” Hernandez said. “My mom Norma Rymers was handing out ice cream to the kids and a student walked over to her and tapped her on the shoulder. His back was to me. When she looked at him she asked if he was choking, he nodded yes. She tried to help him first but I could tell she was having trouble because she’s got a bad back so I just stepped in,” Hernandez said.
Hernandez quickly performed the Heimlich maneuver.
“There’s an old poster in the cafeteria that shows how to do the maneuver so I tried my best, but my mom had to correct me how to do it right (hands under the arms and over the stomach).”
“I just hope if the same thing happened to me or someone I knew that someone around would do the same. And I’m just happy he’s ok. I guess it’s important to keep an eye on the people around us and not be afraid to offer or accept help,” Hernandez said.
According to an AHA report, approximately 70-86% of choking victims recovered after receiving the Heimlich maneuver.
Administering the Heimlich maneuver is simple and almost anyone can do it. Here are the basic steps:
1. Stand behind the choking victim. Make a fist and place the thumb side against the person’s upper abdomen, above the navel and below the ribcage.
2. Put your other hand around the fist, and use a quick upward thrust to press into the victim’s abdomen.
3. Repeat as necessary until the object is expelled.
By Kayleen Holder