Choking deaths are preventable

People don't have to die from choking.

It is preventable.

That is the message from health experts like Dr. Brian Smith.

"More often than not it's going to be your own kids, your own family members that you're going to save," said Dr. Smith.

But in the recent choking that lead to an employee's death at the Harlingen Applebee TMs, the Heimlich maneuver and CPR could have saved his life.

According to family members, fellow employees did not perform either on Chris Kruger.

So is Applebee's to blame?

The state says no.

According to the State Health Department, it is up to individuals to get CPR training.

Restaurants and other businesses are not required by the state to train employees.

The only thing restaurants are required to do is have a Heimlich maneuver poster displayed in the dining area.

CPR instructor Nora Ruiz offers several classes every month at the Red Cross offices in Harlingen.

"You're gonna place one hand over the shoulder, lean them forward between shoulder blades, give five forceful back blows, make sure item logged in throat is pushed out," said Ruiz.

Ruiz said everyone should get CPR certified, the problem is, it's not required, which could be the difference between life and death.

Police say they did perform CPR and the Heimlich maneuver on the victim but were unsuccessful.

Classes are available at your local Red Cross and other organizations.

For those who aren't sure if they can actually pull it off when an emergency happens, there's now app for that.

The Red Cross app takes you through the process, step-by-step.

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