Lunch at Dundee Elementary in Dundee, Ohio was off to a normal start one day in September until the school’s aide, Janet Dummermuth, who was supervising the first-graders, noticed a student panicking.
“He was coughing at first and then headed for the water fountain, but I could tell this was more than something getting caught in his throat,” said Dummermuth. “I recognized that he was choking so I did the Heimlich maneuver like we learned in the training course. It took a couple of thrusts, but I was able to dislodge the food.”
Dummermuth learned the signs of an obstructed airway and how to respond when it happens by taking the PublicSchoolWORKS First Aid – Choking online training course that was assigned to her as an employee of Garaway Local Schools.
“You never think it’s going to happen to you,” said Dummermuth. “I took a course on CPR and the Heimlich maneuver years ago, but taking the PublicSchoolWORKS course refreshed what I learned. Because I took that course, it all came back to me when the student was choking and I was able to calmly help him.”
Dummermuth credits her ability to stay calm and her familiar face with helping the student quickly recover and move on with his day. This is especially noteworthy considering approximately 90 of his peers were watching the situation unfold.
After making sure the student was fine and all students returned to class, Dummermuth logged back into the online training course to review the techniques and confirmed she handled the situation exactly as she was trained.
“The next day, some of the students were scared after seeing what happened, but it led to a positive conversation,” said Dummermuth. “We told the students ‘don’t be afraid because we know what to do.’”
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