‘Heroic’ woman saves a choking colleague as Red Cross reveals shocking first aid figures

PUBLISHED: 09:07 12 September 2018 | UPDATED: 09:08 12 September 2018

Claire Griffiths (left) and Beth Cullen met at a British Red Cross first aid course and went on to save two lives. Photo: British Red Cross

Claire Griffiths (left) and Beth Cullen met at a British Red Cross first aid course and went on to save two lives. Photo: British Red Cross

British Red Cross

Two Norfolk women have used first aid skills to save colleagues from choking, as research reveals less than half of people in the East would be confident enough to step in.

Claire Griffiths, Beccles, and Beth Cullen, Norwich, became friends after meeting at a British Red Cross first aid course.

A year on both women used the essential skills learned at the course to save colleagues’ lives.

Ms Griffiths manages the Red Cross shop in Wymondham.

The 54-year-old was forced to act fast when one of her volunteers began choking on a piece of chocolate.

She said: “Someone alerted me to what was happening, and I acted straight away.

“Three blows got rid of the chocolate, which had slipped down somehow.

“She could breathe again, but she was very shaken up. She is deaf, so I Signed with her to help her calm down, then took her home.”

Beth Cullen, from Norwich, was at a buffet restaurant in London when a colleague started choking.

Luckily Ms Cullen had just completed first aid training with the Red Cross.

She said: “It was a little scary, but the first aid was fresh in my mind and I knew what to do, so I stayed calm.

I positioned her so she was leaning forward then hit her firmly three times on the back, between her shoulder blades. That got rid of the blockage, and she could breathe again.”

Despite these success stories, alarming new research by the Red Cross showed less than half of people in the East of England would be confident enough to help if they were faced with a first aid emergency.

Of the people surveyed. 73pc said they would worry about making the situation worse or doing something wrong.

Ms Griffiths said she would not have felt able to step in had she not completed first aid training.

She added: “It makes you feel like you know what you’re doing. You can take the lead, and you might save a life.”

The Red Cross have called for everyone to learn five simple but potentially life saving first aid skills, including how to help someone who is choking or bleeding heavily.

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