City of Bellevue lifeguard honored by Kirkland Fire Chief for giving choking first aid at Kirkland restaurant
While celebrating her friend’s birthday at Plaza Garcia Family Mexican Restaurant in Kirkland, Wash., Ailee Donald knew something was terribly wrong when she accidently swallowed a piece of hard candy. Almost instantly, she showed the universal choking sign (hands clutched to the throat). Michelle Geraghty, the mother of Sarah, the “birthday girl,” observed a scared look on Ailee’s face and immediately started the Heimlich Maneuver on the 11-year girl. As Geraghty was applying the standard five thrusts to the young girl’s abdomen and five blows to her back, restaurant patron and off-duty lifeguard George Meier took notice from several tables away. George’s mom, Bridget Meier, took notice too and announced to the crowd that her son knew how to perform first aid to a choking victim. George’s uncle called 9-1-1 as George Meier approached the gathering, calmly introduced himself to Ailee, and asked permission to begin the Heimlich Maneuver. After administering the required five thrusts and five blows, what appeared to be food came out of the young girl’s mouth which restored her airway. The candy remained in her throat and melted by the time she was transported to the hospital. On August 19, 2013, Kirkland Fire Chief Kevin Nalder and the Fire Station 25 fire aid crew who responded to the 9-1-1 call and Ailee, reunited at Plaza Garcia to honor Meier for his heroism.
Meier received a certificate of recognition from the Kirkland Fire Department and a hand-made thank you card from Ailee. Meier has been a lifeguard for the City of Bellevue for over four years and is a trained first aid and CPR provider. Meier credits his training to the American Red Cross and the “on-the-job” training he receives for his lifeguard job.
Ailee commented that she was familiar with the Heimlich Maneuver because her step-sister had given it to someone. She and Sarah Geraghty, plan to take a babysitting class so that they can learn more about first aid.
To register for a First Aid/CPR class, go to www.kirklandparks.net or call the Parks & Community Services Department at 425-587-3336.