It’s not every Saturday night you save a life. But that’s what recently happened to Red Cross Communications Advisor, Paul Berrington.

Paul has a passion for music and DJing, and was nearing the end of his weekly radio show on Wellington’s, when something out of the ordinary happened.

Another host on the station, Kim Panagos aka DJ Vic Serotonin, was enjoying dinner while Paul finished up his show. A tap on the back was the first indication Paul had that something wasn’t quite right. When he turned around he could see that Kim was choking and needed help.

Fortunately, Paul had recently completed a Red Cross Comprehensive First Aid course and remembered what to do.

“It all happened so quickly but as soon as I could tell Kim was choking I was already acting, using skills I’d learned on the course,” says Paul.

“It was only in hindsight that I realised what might have happened if I hadn’t been there, or hadn’t been trained in first aid.”

He responded by delivering three back blows which dislodged the obstruction in Kim’s throat and saved his life.

“I don't ever remember having something like that happen and I was really grateful Paul was there,” says Kim.

“He immediately got the food out of my throat so I was super fortunate, as I'm really not sure what I'd have done otherwise.”

For Paul, the incident proved how valuable first aid training can be. Without skills gained during the course, the situation could have been a lot worse.

New Zealand Red Cross has a wide range of first aid training available. From the basics, through to more specialised courses, you can find more here