Norman firefighter saves man's life at Outback Steakhouse
By Christine VanTimmeren
NORMAN — A man from Moore says he owes his life to the quick thinking of an off-duty Norman firefighter."This was my dream job coming here and being a firefighter and helping people," said Norman firefighter Grant McDanel.A two year veteran of the Norman Fire Department, McDanel got in this business to save lives. Every piece of equipment at the station is designed to help him do just that. Last Friday he found out, saving lives comes naturally even without all the equipment.McDanel was enjoying dinner at Outback Steakhouse in Norman. At the next table, Bill Bracelin and his wife Diane were eating too. Suddenly, Bill began to choke."I knew that I had a piece of steak caught in my throat, but I couldn't get it up," Bracelin said.Unable to breath, Bracelin's wife started pounding on his back, but it wasn't working. McDanel turned around, saw what was happening and his training kicked in."So I went over to him and gave him the heimlich maneuver, which I had never done before. It was the first time for me," McDanel said."About the second time he did it, that piece of meat came out onto my plate," Bracelin said. "I mean it came out like a rocket, like a projectile.""It played out so smoothly that it was almost unreal how well it worked out," McDanel said.Bracelin was without air for less than a minute thanks to McDanel's quick action."I don't have many heroes. My dad, JFK and I guess I'm going to have to put Grant on that list," Bracelin said.Hero isn't the word McDanel would use. He says he did what any firefighter would do."I'm just as grateful that I was there as I'm sure he is," said McDanel.Bracelin says he's not only grateful, but thankful to be able to tell his hero this," Grant, if you see this, thanks for everything and I love you brother. God bless."McDanel says he wants this incident to serve as an inspiration for people to sign up for a CPR class. He learned the heimlich maneuver in CPR training and says if he can do it, anyone can.
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