**Editor’s Note: FOX4 removed a paragraph about the number of lives saved by the Heimlich Maneuver**

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – June 1 marks National Heimlich Maneuver Day, a day dedicated to honoring a lifesaving technique that can prevent someone from choking.

The entire first week of June is also National CPR and automated external defibrillator (AED) Awareness Week, according to the American Red Cross, stressing how every second counts in a cardiac arrest situation.

Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart suddenly stops beating or beats too inefficiently to circulate blood to the brain and other organs throughout the body. According to the Red Cross, more than 350,000 people suffer from cardiac arrest annually in the U.S., but only 11% survive.

“Most of those (choking) instances happen outside of a hospital, so I think society has brought us to this point that says, ‘If something happens, I have enough time to get to the hospital,’” Christian Moore, CEO and owner of Take Care LLC, said. “It’s that perception of time and having enough of it.”

Why should I get CPR certified?

In 1974, American thoracic surgeon and medical researcher Dr. Henry Judah Heimlich devised the heimlich maneuver, an abdominal thrust protocol, after reading a newspaper article, according to Reuters.

“We spend the time to brush our teeth because we need to brush our teeth,” Moore said. “We spend the time to get our oil changed because it’s time for maintenance on the car.”

“We go to the grocery store to get groceries, but yet when it comes to our health and our bodies and our person, or even the people that we care for, we always put that on the backburner.”

Moore, who became a CPR and first aid instructor just over a year ago, said she believes people assume they only need to become CPR certified if their employer requires it. She said the cost and time it takes to enroll and complete a CPR course discourages people from taking CPR certification seriously.

“It’s a skill that you have that you don’t know if you’re ever actually going to have to use it,” she said. “You might get the training and never in your life have to use it, and you kind of hope that’s the case, but then there’s sometimes where you do have to use it and you use it more than you ever thought.”

Ironically enough, Moore said she had to administer CPR to her 8-month-old baby on the last day of her instructor training, emphasizing how important it is for her and her family to stay knowledgeable and up to date on the technique.

“My baby started choking on a grape and we immediately had to go into the whole choking situation,” she said. “You (just) can’t make that kind of stuff up.”

She said individuals struggling to find time for in-person CPR classes can attend courses online. She said she believes it’s important for more people to become certified so they can calmly and confidently respond in an emergency situation.

“It’s just really important because we all have a body that needs to be tended to,” Moore said.

Where to get CPR certified in Kansas City

An individual can become certified in CPR and AED administering within a day, but the certification must be renewed after two years. Moore said individuals can renew their certification at their own discretion, something she encourages people to do.

“It’s one of those things where you just can’t predict it,” Moore said. “You don’t know how you’re going to respond when you’re in the moment so you just hope that having this information would give you the confidence to perform the next right step.”

Doctors recommend the method only be used on conscious people and that individuals call 9-1-1 before performing the technique. 

“The sooner you can get somebody hands on, the better the result,” Moore said.

Kansas Citians can become CPR and AED certified at any time through the following programs:

The price for each course varies depending on which skills you’re interested in becoming more knowledgeable on, including CPR, AED, and bloodborne pathogens. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website offers more information on CPR, AED and bloodborne pathogen certifications