We are immensely proud of Debra, a highly valued team member who saved the life of a tenant.

Debra (pictured top left) was finishing her shift at a Fylde independent living scheme when she heard someone calling for help.

She saw the tenant, Carole, on the floor and realised she was choking.

Debra, who has worked with the Group for more than seven years, recalls: “I could hear a man’s voice shouting for help. I went up the stairs, turned the corridor, and saw Carole on the floor in a foetal position. Our postman, David, was with her.

“I knew she was choking because of the way she was breathing. I could see her sweating, and she was tearful.

“David asked if he should call an ambulance, but I said no. He told me he thought about doing the Heimlich manoeuvre, but you usually try the back slap first.

“So I put my arms under her armpit and lifted her. I supported her with my shoulder and started smacking her back four or five times. She then grabbed my arm to show me she was ok. She was very tearful and apologetic, but I reassured her she was ok. I got her a chair and some water, telling her to sip it slowly. I stayed with her until she was able to compose herself.

“I didn’t think at the time – I just acted on what I had been taught in my training. It is a lovely feeling that I have helped someone. I am just thankful David was there to alert me.”

Carole says she would not be alive today had it not been for Debra’s quick actions. 

She recalls: “I was eating crispy fried eggs and the crispiness caught in my throat. I couldn’t ring anyone as I couldn’t talk. I remember running out into the corridor, but no-one was there, so I started to panic. I began to feel weak and fell to the floor. Luckily, the postman came not long after, and then I heard Debra’s voice. I felt relieved, like there was some hope.

“I am so grateful to Debra. She was amazing and kept so calm. I don’t think I would be here without her, because I was in a dreadful state. I really thought I was going to die. I was panicking like mad. I was in shock all day and was too scared to eat anything.”

Debra adds she is grateful for the opportunity to learn first aid through Progress Housing Group and she would encourage others to learn.

She says: “You may think you can’t be bothered, but knowledge is power. You never know when you might need it. "Nothing could be worse than a family member needing help, and you are panicking, not knowing what to do.

"If you have first aid training, you are in the best possible position. I would suggest anyone takes up the training as it is a useful, life-saving skill.”

Details of some free workshops delivered by British Red Cross can be found here: Free adult community education workshops (redcross.org.uk)

  • Debra has also been integral in saving the weekly coffee morning at one of the independent living schemes in the Fylde area, after tenants were unable to continue running it.

She adds: “I felt it was a shame for them to lose the coffee mornings, as sometimes, this was the only opportunity for them to see people. They rely on it, so I thought if I could help and run it, I would. It is really nice to see the tenants enjoying tea, coffee, and crumpets."

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