Edina Third Grader Saves Friend from Choking

Updated: 06/04/2014 6:56 PM
Created: 06/04/2014 6:49 PM
By: Naomi Pescovitz

An Edina third grader is being called the "Heimlich Hero" after saving his friend from choking during a school picnic last month.

Nine-year-old Zach Furman was with his Concord Elementary School class when he and friend Aiden Roberts asked Fletcher Dypwick if he wanted to join the rest of the group.

"Me and Aiden wanted to get the whole class together," Zach said.

When the boys started talking to Dypwick, they quickly realized something was wrong.

"I was kind of scared for Fletcher, because my friend was in trouble," Zach said.

Fletcher was choking on a French fry and grasping at his neck.

"I just couldn't breathe or anything," Fletcher said.

Aiden ran to get help from teachers and Zach stepped in without thinking.

"I went behind him and started doing the Heimlich... It's where you put your hands together and you pull up on your stomach," Zach said.

After five or six thrusts, the French fry was free.

"Chunks started going out of his mouth," Zach said.

Two weeks before the picnic, Zach's dad taught him how to perform the technique.

"The first thing I said to him was, even if you're not doing it well, at least do it. It's better than nothing," said Zach's dad, Matt Furman.

Fletcher says he will stick to small French fries for now and the day after the picnic, he invited Zach and Aiden over for a play-date.

Zach says he did what any buddy would do.

"I want to be a good friend, and I want to help Fletcher," Zach said.

The American Red Cross calls the technique "Abdominal Thrusts" and they offer classes to teach the public how it's done.

Click here to learn more and to download a free Red Cross app with step-by-step instructions.

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