Employee Saves Life of Choking Coworker

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KISSIMMEE, Fla., March 2, 10:30 a.m. – A Kissimmee Utility Authority (KUA) power plant mechanic/operator is being called a hero today.

Martin Garcia used the Heimlich Maneuver on Monday to save the life of a coworker at the utility’s Cane Island Power Park in Intercession City, Fla.

During a mid-morning break, power plant mechanic/operator Steve “Toe” McClaugherty began choking on a slice of pizza. When McClaugherty signaled that he could no longer breathe, Garcia instructed him to stand up so he could administer the abdominal thrusts.

After two quick thrusts, the pizza wedged in McClaugherty’s windpipe was expelled.

“It all happened so fast,” said a thankful McClaugherty. “By the time I realized I could no longer breathe, Martin had already sprung into action.”

Garcia says the remoteness of the power plant from emergency medical care makes the training a great skill to have on the job, especially when a split second can mean the difference between life and death.

“Saving a life was one of the things I was trained to do,” said Garcia, who learned the technique in courses provided by the utility, “but you never know when you’ll actually have to use it.”

Founded in 1901, KUA (www.kua.com) is Florida’s sixth largest community-owned utility providing electric and telecommunication services to 170,000 residents in five Central Florida counties.

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Chris M. Gent
(407) 933-7777 x 1116
cgent@kua.com