Thomas L. Jensen, an employee for a major oil company in Salt Lake City, chief of the Syracuse Fire Department and a technical sergeant in the Air Force Reserve at Hill Air Force Base, is a good man to have around in an emergency.
Recently, on an overseas assignment with his Air Force Reserve unit - the 419th Tactical Fighter Group at Hill - Jensen was eating dinner with some other reservists and their friends when one man at the table jumped up, clutching his throat.The man started going around the table, unable to talk. Most of his dinner partners felt he was just play acting and going on a food hunt and they instinctively began covering up their plates, but Jensen knew otherwise.
"As soon as he got up, I knew he was choking," Jensen said. "I got up and went around the table to meet him. I applied the Heimlich maneuver and after four thrusts, the food dislodged and he was breathing again. Then we all sat down and had our dinner."
No stranger to such life-saving techniques, Jensen has been a volunteer firefighter for 15 years and chief of the Syracuse Fire Department nearly five years.