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Junior Women’s Club hosts fundraiser for anti-choking devices

LifeVac kits come with face masks and a suction device that can be used to extract obstructions from a person's throat. Submitted Photo
Hoagie sale will benefit school district

Heidi Priest, of Summit Township, bought some special choking rescue devices to keep close to her in case one of her three young girls has a choking emergency.

Now, she and the Junior Women’s Club of Butler are trying to raise money to supply these LifeVacs to schools in the Butler Area School District, where children run the risk of choking in crowded places such as hallways or cafeterias.

“Choking is one of those things that you are always concerned about,” Priest said. “I purchased a home kit and a travel kit that I keep in my car. I have always thought it would be a good idea to get these in the schools.”

The Junior Women’s Club of Butler is having a hoagie sale to raise money for the LifeVacs, and they will accept orders through March 6.

The club is teaming up with The Hoagie Shop, which has two locations in Butler Township, one in the Bon Aire Plaza and one in Point Plaza, to host the sale. Priest said the club hopes to raise enough money at $6 per hoagie to get at least one LifeVac in every school in the Butler district.

“We are looking to raise about $2,500 to supply 13 units for Butler school district,” Priest said. “We're hoping to make more money; we can expand to other school districts, but we’re focusing on Butler now.”

The LifeVac is a small, plunger-like device that can be used to extract obstructions via suction from a person’s throat. The devices range in price from about $70 for a travel kit to about $240 for a school kit, which comes with four units and a few different mask sizes.

Brian White, superintendent of the Butler Area School District, said the fundraiser will help provide another tool to help keep children safe at district schools.

“(Priest) reached out and shared the idea. I checked with our head of nursing to see what she thought,” White said. “Our nursing department would like to have them; obviously they would help to protect our kids.”

Priest said the LifeVacs will be especially important in the elementary schools, where students can be more vulnerable to choking hazards.

“There are situations where the Heimlich (maneuver) doesn't work,” Priest said. “It just seemed like another good thing to do to help the community. As a mom, it's something that's important to me.”

Hoagies can be ordered by visiting Pickup for the orders is scheduled to start at 4 p.m. March 13 in Bon Aire Plaza.

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