It was another normal lunch meeting for Husaninder Singh, supervising engineer at DTE Energy. He was meeting with Jonathan Hou, a DTE vendor, to discuss a project the companies had been working on. They were exchanging shop talk when Singh noticed Hou hunched over in his chair with tears streaming down his eyes.

“I don’t think I even realized what was going on; next thing I knew I was behind him performing the Heimlich Maneuver,” said Singh.

It was the nearly 10 years of First Aid training that kicked in for Singh.

Being a qualified electrical worker at DTE, he must retake the First Aid course every two years to renew his certification. He said the consistent practice turned his reaction into more of an automatic response, rather than a conscious decision.

When Singh asked Hou what was wrong and Hou responded with the universal sign of choking, two hands wrapped around the neck, Singh asked permission to perform the procedure and jumped into action.

Hou, who is grateful of the required first aid training for DTE electrical workers, said he has since developed a better understanding of the company’s focus on safety.

“The safety training at DTE allowed Husaninder to observe what was going on around him and then apply the technical training needed,” said Hou. “This can happen anywhere, anytime to anyone. Even just sitting there eating can be a dangerous act.”

Singh also is certified in CPR and other basic first aid procedures. Having little kids, he has also researched proper techniques to use with children who are choking. He continues to keep a safety-first mindset and has since become even more aware of his surroundings.

Hou, after sharing the story with his family, said that his wife has already looked into certification courses for them to complete.

Visit American Red Cross to learn more about the First Aid Certification.