First aid training is no choke for St John volunteer

Press Release

When Tina Lembo signed up to be a St John Event Health Services volunteer she thought she would be helping to save lives

What she didn’t expect was that one day she would save her own.

While eating a freshly cooked pizza at home, Tina found herself choking on a piece of crust.

Alone at the time, Tina knew she needed help, and considered the First Responder app to raise the alarm, but she couldn’t speak.

She then ran outside to try to flag down a passing car.

It was then she said her first aid training and survival instinct kicked in.

Tina gave herself a firm upwards thrust to the chest, which dislodged the food and saved her life.

“At the time, I thought, well this is how I die,” Tina said.

“I did panic for a second then my subconscious took over and I used the skills I had learnt being a volunteer to save my own life.”

Choking can be caused by food or small objects, and patients suffering an episode are encouraged to try to cough.

Failing that, up to five sharp back blows with the heel of one hand should be attempted.

To learn more about how to respond to a choking adult, check out this fact sheet.

Even better, sign up for first aid training with St John WA and the life you save could quite literally be your own.

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