It was just after midnight on Tuesday, August 26, when Sheba Samra and her daughters were getting ready to go to bed.

Eldest sister Jasmin, 25, was at the top of the stairs of the family home in Granville Road, Uxbridge, when she heard a gasping noise coming from her kitchen.

Mrs Samra had taken a glucosamine supplement tablet but it had got lodged in her throat.

“I ran to the banister and could see mum was running up the stairs and I realised she wasn’t breathing.

“I just went into a state of panic,” she said. “I grabbed her round the waist but nothing was happening. My sister Selene came into the hallway took one look at my mum and started screaming.

“We were whacking her on the back but it wasn’t helping that’s when I thought oh my god, I think she is going to die in front of me - it was the scariest thing ever.”

Middle sister 20-year-old Serene’s screams had woken Sheba’s youngest daughter Hera, 15.

“She came out of her room, saw my mum’s face, and without thinking started using the Heimlich manoeuvre,” Jasmin explained.

“She said she got a surge of anger and determination and within three thrusts of my mum’s waist she had managed to get the pill out of her throat.

“We looked it up later and she had done everything correctly. She is amazing - we were so lucky she was there and instinct took over - she saved our mum’s life .”

Three daughters Hera, Jasmin and Serene Samra with their mum Sheba and dog Rocky

The family’s close-call has inspired them to learn first aid and they hope their story will inspire others to do the same.

“Mum is on a three-day first aid course which she booked straight away. We want to raise awareness of how important simple first aid training is, everyone should do it whether you get the chance to at work, or can enrol on a short course.

"It’s so important and it could save someone’s life,” she said.

Andrew Farrar, First Aid Training project manager for the British Red Cross, gave some advice on what to do if you find an adult choking.

"The first thing you want to do is ask the person if you think they are choking - if they can speak then clearly they are not.

"If they can't clear the airway and are choking, then you should give up to five back blows, and stop if the airway clears."

Back blows involve using an upward motion to give sharp blows between the shoulder blades with the heel of your hand.

According to the British Red Cross it is the most effective way to remove an object that is trapped in an airway.

The abdominal thrust - commonly known as the Heimlich manoeuvre - whilst effectively used by Hera, are advised as a last resort.

"When the airway is trapped it is usually in the throat and the back blow is the most effective method in removing the object," Mr Farrar said.

Guidance for babies and small children differs to that for adults, if you find a baby or child choking, place them on your knees with their bottom slightly higher than their head and keep their head supported.

Then give the five firm blows on the back as described earlier.

"Don't be tempted to reach into a child's mouth if you think they are choking on something - the risk of pushing it further in rather than taking it out is far greater," Mr Farrar said.

For full First Aid advice and guidance visit the British Red Cross website at and to download the free British Red Cross First Aid app visit