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Vancouver fire chief saves choking man

first_imgAs chief of the Vancouver Fire Department, Joe Molina doesn’t go out on calls.So the story of how he saved a choking man’s life at a restaurant on Sunday spread quickly around City Hall on Monday, and Molina agreed to talk about it not to highlight himself as a hero, but to highlight the need for people to know how to perform simple techniques such as the Heimlich maneuver and CPR. Deputy Chief Dan Olson said it was an example of how someone without any special equipment was able to save a life. Alas, Olson said, Molina “isn’t in every restaurant.” Molina, 52, said it was the first time he’d used the Heimlich maneuver while off-duty in his 22-year career as a firefighter. Usually, it’s children who choke, often on hot dogs. (Olson would also like to take this opportunity to tell parents to cut hot dogs up into little pieces.)On Sunday, Molina was at McMenamins Sand Trap Pub in Gearhart, Ore., five miles north of Seaside. He was on the patio with his girlfriend, his niece and a dog, which necessitated the outdoor seating. In his line of sight was a man in his mid-70s, and Molina heard him start to cough. The coughing grew worse. Usually the body does a good job of expelling lodged items, Molina said, but he watched as the man stood up and walked over to the railing. He was no longer coughing. The man’s wife had left the table before the coughing started, Molina had noticed, so the man was alone. Another patron stood up and patted the man on the back, asking him if he was OK.last_img read more