Swanline Employee Saves Mother’s Life with First Aid Training

Sean Dawson, an employee at Swanline, recently saved his mother’s life using the Heimlich manoeuvre he learned during a first aid training course at work, conducted by Health and Safety Manager, Mike Whittingham. The course covered basics such as cuts and bruises, CPR, defibrillator use, and choking.

A few months after the training, Sean and his wife went to his mother’s house for tea with his younger brother. His mother had just finished a cold can of Tango and then started eating, when suddenly she got hiccups and choked on her food. Initially, Sean thought his mother was joking and made a joke of it himself. However, he quickly realised the seriousness of the situation when he saw his mother’s face turn red. Sean’s brother tried tapping her on the back but to no avail. Sean tried to perform the Heimlich manoeuvre two or three times, but his mother wouldn’t stay still. Finally, Sean’s brother was able to hold her still while Sean performed the manoeuvre, dislodging the food from her throat.

Sean credited his training for giving him the knowledge and power to save his mother’s life. “Two things stood out with training for me, which is you really have to hit hard and really have to have the power to get it out,” said Sean. “It was easier doing the manoeuvre with our trainer, Mike, who would stand still, where in a real-life situation, my mum was moving all over the place, which proved much more difficult.”

Sean’s mother was grateful for her son’s quick thinking and life-saving skills. “She was very grateful that I was there,” said Sean. “My brother has no first aid training.” Sean added that he was thankful for the training he received at Swanline, which he did because he had started doing night shifts and wanted to be a fire marshal and first aid trained. The training takes four to five hours, and was conducted by Mike, who conducted the training himself.

Sean’s story serves as a reminder of the importance of first aid training. It can make the difference between life and death in an emergency situation. As Sean himself said, “If I didn’t have the training, I wouldn’t have known what amount of power you need to put into it to save my mother’s life, so I’m really grateful for that.”

Swanline’s first aid training includes:

  • Actions to be taken in the event of an emergency occurring at work.
  • Use cardiopulmonary resuscitation methods including use of an AED.
  • Provide first aid to an unconscious casualty.
  • Provide first aid to a choking casualty.
  • Actions to control wounds and bleeding.
  • Placing a breathing casualty in the recovery position.


Training takes place as and when required and offer a two-year certification which can be used outside of the business. Swanline currently have 20 paid first aid and fire marshal combined trained staff on site across multiple teams and three first aid only trained volunteers.

If you’re interesting in learning some first aid skills, ask your place of work whether you can volunteer to be a first aider, or alternatively the Red Cross offers first aid training courses that you can book.