Mercer American Legion donates LifeVacs to local schools, first responders
This month marks the 8th anniversary of the passing of an 8-year-old Mercer girl who choked on a hot dog while eating lunch at her elementary school lunchroom.
The Mercer American Legion Riders bought 27 Life Vac anti-choking devices they plan to donate to local schools along with police and other first responders.
Harlowe Mattocks is the uncle of little Aizeya Mattocks. He and his fellow American Legion Rider members raised money to buy the Life Vacs.
"It's just something that's really bothered me. It's hard to talk about. I just want to reach out and help other kids and adults," said Mattocks.
Aizeya's mother says she hopes they can help make a difference.
"It means so much! I hope no family ever has to go through what I went through. So children will be safe and school and preschool and this never has to happen again," said Amber Mattocks.
The Life Vac was invented by Arthur Lih 9 years ago. He says it's helped save at least 54 people. He says the Vac is best used when the Heimlich doesn't work or when someone is in a wheelchair. Lih says the device is FDA registered.
"You go through the same scrutiny but you are registered not approved. You can't approve everything. You can't approve band-aids or CPR masks," said Lih.
A google search of Life Vac mentions mostly positive reviews. Matt Gordon, director of EMS for Trumbull Memorial says he recommends doing the Heimlich first but if that doesn't work the Life Vac would be better than doing nothing.
The Life Vac sells for around $70.