Local scout’s Heimlich knowledge kept his 2-year-old sister alive

It doesn’t hurt to know the basics of CPR and lifesaving measures, as Francis Pringle can tell you.

An 11-year-old member of a local Scouting branch may have saved his little sister’s life thanks to a skill he’d learned scouting just a week earlier.

Francis Pringle was in the car with his brother Alasdair and their 2-year-old sister Isla on April 3 as their mom Anna drove to pick up a friend for a trip to the movies.

Halfway through the trip, Francis noticed Isla begin choking after she’d “insisted” on eating Cheeto puffs.

Just a week earlier, Francis had learned to perform the Heimlich maneuver (also called the abdominal thrust) during his training with Trail Life, a faith-based scouting organization like the Boy Scouts. Francis’ troop meets at the Wabash Church in Auburn.

Unable to pull over on the freeway, Anna told Francis that Isla was choking and needed help.

“I’ve got to do what they taught me, because if I don’t, my little sister might die,” Francis recalled thinking.

He performed the Heimlich for a few moments, until, as he put it: “A Cheeto ejected from her mouth and flew … into my brother’s hair.”

Francis gave a “ginormous” sigh of relief, and the family finally pulled over to make sure Isla was OK.

“I was really proud of him,” Anna said. “He was really clear-headed.”

And “after that, we didn’t let (Isla) have any more Cheeto puffs,” Francis said.

Many local fire departments offer CPR and First Aid training. Visit https://enumclawfire.org/classes for the Enumclaw Fire Department, or call 360-761-7866 for the Buckley Fire Department’s program.