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Palm Coast Thursday, Apr. 12, 2018 5 months ago

Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly uses Heimlich maneuver to save woman

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Sharon Demers indicated to Staly that she was choking during a "Meet the Candidates" event on April 11.

Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly may have saved a woman’s life by being in the right place at the right time the evening of Wednesday, April 11, according to a FCSO press release. 

While attending a “Meet the Candidates” event for the Florida Commissioner of Agriculture at the Pine Lakes Golf Club in Palm Coast, Staly noticed a woman in distress. She was unable to speak but indicated to Staly that she was choking when he approached her. He performed the Heimlich maneuver on the woman, and on the fourth attempt was able to dislodge the food that was stuck in her airway. The woman, identified as Sharon Demers, was then able to breathe again and thanked Staly for “saving my life.”

“I’m just so grateful to Sheriff Rick Staly for saving my life,” Demers said after the meeting concluded. “He was in the right place at the right time. I don’t think I would have survived if he hadn’t been there. He was even kind enough to sit next to me for the rest of the evening to make sure I was okay.” 

The entire room applauded Staly for his quick life-saving measures.

“I saw the commotion and saw the sheriff quickly spring to action,” said Flagler County Commissioner Greg Hansen, who attended the event. “This could have easily been a tragedy if not for the sheriff’s quick response.” 

“If anybody has a guardian angel it was Sharon Demers tonight, and it came in the form of a Sheriff,” Crime Stoppers President Edward Fuller said after the incident. “He saved her life; there are no ifs, ands, or buts about it.” 

“I’m just happy that she is OK,” Staly said. “I would hope that anyone in my position would have done the same thing.” 

Demers was thankful for Staly’s aid and declined further medical assistance.

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