Steve Berman remembers the day his daughter almost died. In 1989, as mayor of Gilbert he convinced then-fire provider Rural/Metro Fire Department to teach CPR classes to residents to help prevent pool drownings.
In return, the department asked Berman to take the course. He didn’t have a pool, but agreed.
He had no idea then what a good idea it would turn out to be, he said Thursday.
“Literally the next day one of my kids came in screaming that my daughter Elizabeth was turning blue,” Berman said.
“I ran in there. She had stuffed her mouth full of candy. She was choking and didn’t know how to get the candy out.”
During CPR class, Berman learned a technique to clear her throat and used it.
“She started shooting candy out of her mouth like a little gumball machine,” he said. “It literally saved my daughter’s life.”
Elizabeth was 18 months old then; she is 18 years old now.
The experience has strengthened Berman’s support of CPR, and led him to be one of two East Valley mayors, including Scottsdale Mayor Mary Manross, to proclaim September “Save A Life Month.”
Gov. Janet Napolitano also signed a statewide proclamation, in response to nationwide advocacy by Save A Life Foundation.
The foundation’s goal is to get the word out that every person can learn CPR to help their family, or even a stranger. More than 5,000 children die and 90,000 are disabled each year from preventable incidents in the nation, according to the foundation.