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Custodian acts quickly when student chokes

Steve O’Connor performed Heimlich maneuver on Roessleville first-grader

Roessleville Elementary School Custodians Steve O'Connor (left) and Doug Hutton both saved someone's life thanks to basic emergency training.

Roessleville Elementary School Custodians Steve O'Connor (left) and Doug Hutton both saved someone's life thanks to basic emergency training. Photo by Zan Strumfeld.

— Although he had been certified using an automated external defibrillator unit and at the time had been working at the school for 19 years, Hutton had not used it before in an emergency situation.

“The man was dead. His eyes had rolled back. I got the machine, squatted down next to him. I read the directions and hooked it up to him. I told everyone to stand back, like we learned in class. The training just took over. The whole thing is, you got to stay calm,” Hutton said. “I shocked him and he flopped like a fish.”

Hutton said the man, William Johnson, started “coming around” when the EMTs were running into the gymnasium.

“It was quite the experience. The whole thing is like a blur. I didn’t sleep for two nights, my adrenaline was going,” Hutton said.

Since saving his life, Hutton said Johnson has come back to the school several times to thank him.

“It felt great,” Hutton said.

Although both Hutton and O’Connor still seem to be on the edge since saving two lives, they both emphasized the importance of having the right training for when disaster strikes.

“Go to CPR classes and go get certified,” O’Connor said. “You could save somebody’s life.”

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