If you’ve ever passed on the opportunity to take a course in lifesaving techniques, you may want to rethink your decision.
A recent incident at Guyer High School in Denton illustrates just how valuable learning such skills can be and emphasizes that we never know when we may be called upon to help someone in trouble.
Kevin Tucker, who teaches psychology and world geography at Guyer High, was in the teacher’s lunchroom at the high school Oct. 2 when he saw that a fellow teacher, Barbara Ouellette, was choking.
Using techniques that he learned in a training course just a few weeks before, Tucker dislodged a piece of carrot from Ouellette’s throat and cleared her air passage.
Ouellette told us that she was eating when small pieces of a baby carrot she was chewing got lodged in her throat. She said she stood up immediately and tried to cough without success.
Tucker noticed her distress and asked if she was OK and if she was choking, Ouellette said. She was unable to speak, but nodded to indicate that she did, indeed, need help. Tucker jumped into action.
“He just acted so quickly. I don’t even think he realized,” Ouellette said. “To me, that’s a true hero when they just react, and I’m very thankful that he was there.”
As a result of Tucker’s quick action, Ouellette told us, she was able to breathe again a few seconds later.
Tucker said it was the first time he’s ever rendered aid in such a situation and credited a recent training course with giving him the know-how to help his fellow teacher. He was trained in lifesaving techniques years ago, Tucker told us, but had forgotten much over the ensuing years.
“I was scared to death,” he said of his decision to help Ouellette. “I’m very happy I took that class.”
Ouellette, a biology teacher, called Tucker her hero.
“I was very grateful,” she said. “There was a reason he took that class.”
Tucker, Guyer’s University Interscholastic League history coach, was required as a club sponsor to take a standard American Red Cross course which teaches CPR, the Heimlich maneuver and other life-saving techniques.
“When it came to the seriousness of it, he just reacted,” Ouellette said. “Any child that’s in a club with him will be safe. He knows what to do.”
Ouellette’s comment about Tucker’s training should resonate with all parents — the teachers, coaches and other educators who care for children bear a great responsibility. We can only hope that each of them is required to take periodic refresher courses in lifesaving techniques.
But signing up for such courses is good advice for all of us — as we said, the incident at Guyer High emphasizes that any of us could be called upon at any time to step in and help in a crisis.
We’re grateful that Tucker had the training he needed, and we commend him for acting decisively in the emergency.
He knew what to do.