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PRESS CONTACT INFO

ROBIN ERICKSON
Director of Communications

PHONE
(401) 831-7700 x101
E-MAIL
[email protected]

Monday, January 14, 2002
Recognizing President's "Pretzel Incident," Red Cross Asks: Would You Know What to Do?

With news reports today about President George Bush choking on a pretzel, the American Red Cross of Rhode Island is asking Rhode Islanders if they would know what to do in a similar situation.

"If it can happen to President Bush, it can happen to anyone," Mark Francesconi, Director of Health and Safety for the Rhode Island Red Cross said, referring to the incident. "If you walked in during a Patriots game and found an unconscious family member on the floor with a blocked airway, would you have the CPR and first aid training to save that person's life?"

While President Bush regained consciousness on his own, Francesconi said many victims do not --- and acting in the first few minutes is critical.

"You've got four minutes to act before brain damage can occur (with a choking victim)," Francesconi explained.

Francesconi said the American Red Cross of Rhode Island trained 18,000   CPR last year --- which is 2% of the state's population.

"Everyone --- parents, grandparents, babysitters, employees --- should learn CPR and basic first aid," Francesconi said. "As this recent incident shows, you never know when an accident can happen."

While many people associate choking with infants and children, Francesconi said more adults are actually affected.

"In 2000, nearly 3,000 adults, age 25 and older, died in choking related accidents in the United States," Francesconi said. "That compares to 240 choking cases reported for individuals under the age of 25."

The American Red Cross of Rhode Island offers adult, child and infant CPR classes at various locations across the state. All ages are welcome and family discounts are available. Call 831.7700 ext.110 today for a schedule.

NOTE: Live demonstrations of CPR skills with "dummies" are available.

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