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Off-duty firefighter saves choking woman at Elkhart restaurant

An off-duty Bristol firefighter saved a woman from choking while eating at an Elkhart restaurant last week.
Posted on Aug. 5, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on Aug. 5, 2013 at 6:19 p.m.

ELKHART — A woman who began choking on her food at an Elkhart restaurant was lucky to be sitting just behind an off-duty firefighter.

Joseph Clawson of Elkhart was eating dinner with his mother at Miles Lab, 3763 E. Jackson Blvd., around 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 1, when a woman seated behind them began choking on her food.

“She started patting herself on the chest to try and break (the food) loose,” Clawson said. “Then the man she was with tried patting her on the back.”

The woman stood up, still trying to dislodge the food from her throat and Clawson decided to take action. As a firefighter for the Bristol Fire Department for three years, Clawson had received first aid EMT training.

“I stood up and gave her the Heimlich maneuver,” Clawson said.

He said the whole incident lasted about a minute.

If you see someone choking, Clawson said the first thing to do is call 911.

“If you know how to help them, do it, but always make sure advance care is on the way,” he said.


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