A 12-year-old Islandmagee army cadet has been honoured with a prestigious First Aid Commendation for saving his dad from choking.
Alex Todd leapt to the rescue after a portion of fruit became trapped in his father’s airway, putting into practice some of the First Aid skills he had learnt with Whitehead Detachment Army Cadet Force.
Alex’s Dad, who was near to collapse when Alex intervened, is grateful and amazed at the clear-headed actions of his son and proud that his courage has been recognised.
Commandant of the 1st NI Battalion Army Cadet Force Colonel David Kane said he was delighted that the ACF training had proven to be a life-saver.
“All our Cadets learn basic First Aid and it is a popular and rewarding element of our curriculum,” he stated.
“Thankfully, Cadets are very rarely called upon to put that knowledge into practice in a real life situation but it is great to know that, should an emergency situation arise, they have the knowledge and the presence of mind to intervene until help arrives.
“Alex showed tremendous character as well as skill as he helped his father in a fast-escalating and dangerous scenario. His capacity to stay cool and recall everything that he had learnt in cadets is admirable and we’re all very proud of him.”
The advice for adults responding to a choking emergency is to encourage the patient to ‘cough out’ the obstruction. If that doesn’t work, support their upper body with one hand and help them lean forward, using the heel of your hand to administer up to five sharp back blows between their shoulder blades. Check their mouth to see if there’s anything in there and, if so, get them to pick it out. If back blows don’t work, stand behind them and, linking your hands between their tummy button and the bottom of their chest, clench your lower hand into a fist and pull up to five times with a sharp inwards and upwards movement. If they’re still choking, call emergency services and follow their expert directions until help arrives.