First Aid To Clear Object Stuck In Throat – The Army Way

First Aid To Clear Object Stuck In Throat – The Army Way

The Army does a good job of breaking down complex procedures into digestible tasks but the Army doesn’t always call things by the same name as civilians…civilians would call this the Heimlich Maneuver but the Army calls it First Aid To Clear Object Stuck In Throat.  Links have been added to facilitate further reading or research.

Task Number: 081-COM-1003
Task Title: Perform First Aid to Clear an Object Stuck in the Throat of a Conscious Casualty
Task Type: Individual
Proponent:
Task Data
Conditions: You see a conscious casualty who is having difficulty breathing because something is stuck in his throat. This iteration should NOT be performed in MOPP.
Standards: Clear the object from the casualty’s throat by giving abdominal or chest thrusts until the casualty can talk and breathe normally, you are relieved by a qualified person, or the casualty becomes unconscious requiring mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
Safety Notes: In a training environment, leaders must perform a risk assessment in accordance with FM 5-19, Composite Risk Management. Leaders will complete a DA Form 7566 COMPOSITE RISK MANAGEMENT WORKSHEET during the planning and completion of each task and sub-task by assessing mission, enemy, terrain and weather, troops and support available-time available and civil considerations, (METT-TC). Note: During MOPP training, leaders must ensure personnel are monitored for potential heat injury. Local policies and procedures must be followed during times of increased heat category in order to avoid heat related injury. Consider the MOPP work/rest cycles and water replacement guidelines IAW FM 3-11.4, NBC Protection, FM 3-11.5, CBRN Decontamination.
Environment: Environmental protection is not just the law but the right thing to do. It is a continual process and starts with deliberate planning. Always be alert to ways to protect our environment during training and missions. In doing so, you will contribute to the sustainment of our training resources while protecting people and the environment from harmful effects. Refer to FM 3-34.5 Environmental Considerations and GTA 05-08-002 ENVIRONMENTAL-RELATED RISK ASSESSMENT.
PERFORMANCE STEPS
1Determine if the casualty needs help.
aIf the casualty has a mild airway obstruction (able to speak or cough forcefully, may be wheezing between coughs), do not interfere except to encourage the casualty to cough.
bIf the casualty has a severe airway obstruction (poor air exchange and increased breathing difficulty, a silent cough, cyanosis, or inability to speak or breathe), continue with step 2. 
NOTE: You can ask the casualty one question, “Are you choking?” If the casualty nods yes, help is needed.
CAUTION: Do not slap a choking casualty on the back. This may cause the object to go down the airway instead of out.
 
2Perform abdominal or chest thrusts.
NOTE: Abdominal thrusts should be used unless the victim is in the advanced stages of pregnancy, is very obese, or has a significant abdominal wound.
Note: Clearing a conscious casualty’s airway obstruction can be performed with the casualty either standing or sitting.
 
aAbdominal thrusts.
(1Stand behind the casualty.
(2Wrap your arms around the casualty’s waist.
(3Make a fist with one hand.
(4Place the thumb side of the fist against the abdomen slightly above the navel and well below the tip of the breastbone.
(5Grasp the fist with the other hand.
(6Give quick backward and upward thrusts.
NOTE: Each thrust should be a separate, distinct movement. Thrusts should be continued until the obstruction is expelled or the casualty becomes unconscious.
 
bChest thrusts.
(1Stand behind the casualty.
(2Wrap your arms under the casualty’s armpits and around the chest.
(3Make a fist with one hand.
(4Place the thumb side of the fist on the middle of the breastbone.
(5Grasp the fist with the other hand.
(6Give backward thrusts.
NOTE: Each thrust should be performed slowly and distinctly with the intent of relieving the obstruction.
 
3Continue to give abdominal or chest thrusts, as required. Give abdominal or chest thrusts until the obstruction is clear, you are relieved by a qualified person, or the casualty becomes unconscious.
NOTE: If the casualty becomes unconscious, lay him down and then start mouth-to-mouth resuscitation procedures.
 
4If the obstruction is cleared, watch the casualty closely and check for other injuries, if necessary.
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