Heimlich Maneuver Week

This week (November 4th through the 10th) is national Heimlich Maneuver Week. Every year about 3,000 adults die because they accidentally inhale rather than swallow food. The food blocks their windpipe, making breathing impossible. If more people were trained in the Heimlich Maneuver this statistic could decrease drastically. So it’s important for you to learn the procedure, if you don’t know it already. It could save a love one’s, a stranger, or even your life some day.

The Heimlich maneuver, or abdominal thrusts, is simple enough that it can be performed immediately by anyone trained in the maneuver. By compressing the abdomen, air is forced out of the lungs, dislodging the obstruction and bringing the foreign material up into the mouth.

Before beginning the maneuver it is important to establish that the person is truly choking and wants your help. This can be done by asking the person directly and having them answer with a head nod.

Stand behind the victim


Stand with your legs separated, to form a “tripod” shape if the victim faints or becomes unconscious (this will help you to catch them and stabilize their fall quickly).

  • Reach around the victim from behind. Circle your hands around the victim’s abdomen (stomach).
  • Make a fist with your dominant hand. The thumb of this fist should point into the fist. Place this fist just above the victim’s navel (belly button) and under the breastbone.
  • Wrap your other hand firmly around this fist. Be sure to keep your thumb away from the victim’s body, to prevent injury to the victim.

Perform the Heimlich Maneuver


  • Pull inward and upward, pressing into the victim’s abdomen with quick upward thrusts, using good force. Make the motion similar to the letter “J” – in, then up.
  • Make the thrusts quick and forceful, as if you are trying to lift the victim off his or her feet from this position.
  • Perform 5 abdominal thrusts in quick succession. Repeat the series of thrusts until the object is dislodged and expelled. The victim will cough out the obstacle obstructing their airway if this maneuver is successful.
  • Use less force if the victim is a child.
  • If the victim falls unconscious, stop the thrusts immediately. Be aware that this can happen if the object is not removed.
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  • Comments (5)
    • V.E.G.
    • February 25th, 2014

    There is a much bigger hero than the Heimlich Maneuver performer: Charles Washington Bennett. “Uncle” Charlie gave his life helping the children and the roof hit him and God took him. He is a hero and he is related to every single Hiott known to exist!

    • V.E.G.
    • March 14th, 2014

    There is much bigger hero than the Heimlich Maneuver performer: a man from Trinidad and Tabago, Nicholas Seucharan. He gave his life saving others, well done rest in peace. God took him. Nicholas’s ancestry came from Trinidad and Tobago and India before two countries gaines its independence from the United Kingdom.

    • V.E.G.
    • March 31st, 2014

    There is much bigger hero than the Heimlich Maneuver performer: Edward Joseph Garlinghouse, Jr. Garlinghouse saved the children but God took him. Auf Wiedersehen, Eduard Josef Gerlinghaus.

    • V.E.G.
    • April 9th, 2014

    There is much bigger hero than the Heimlich Maneuver performer: Walter L. Dye. Dye, was a distant cousin of actor Dick Curtis, saved a life but God took him. Well done, rest in peace. God bless.

    • V.E.G.
    • April 11th, 2014

    There is much bigger hero than the Heimlich Maneuver performer: Julius Stankevicius. Stankevicius, a son of Lithuanian natives, did help his dying teacher in Sparks, Nevada. Well done, Julius Stankevicius.

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