A 12-year-old Cottleville boy is being credited with saving his sisters life thanks to some quick thinking on the side of a highway.

It can take the average ambulance up to five minutes to arrive at the scene of a medical emergency. But thanks to a free 20 minute CPR class, Kyle Prater, 12, was able to save his sister's life in a matter of seconds.

To Prater, it sounded like a boring way to spend a summer afternoon. When his friend's mom brought up the idea of a CPR class at a local library, he wasn't interested.

“I called my mom and said, 'I really don't want to do this'. She made me do it anyway,” said Prater.

“It was not something I really even thought about so I said, 'Why not. It's definitely going to be beneficial',” said Kimberly Prater, Kyle's mother.

No one could predict how helpful that 20 minute class would prove just a few weeks later when Kyle and his sister Camden, 9, were eating ice cream.

“I was driving and Camden started to choke on her cone. I could see her in my review mirror so I hurried up and pulled over, I flew out of the car and pulled open the back door,” said Kimberly.

At that moment Prater’s instincts and confidence kicked in.

“I grabbed my ice cream and threw it to my mom and said, ‘I got this.' Then I pulled my sister out of the seat and gave her the Heimlich maneuver,” said Prater.

“She was crying really hard and squeezing him,” said Kimberly.

The Prater family credit the free CPR class took, put on by the St. Charles County Ambulance District Outreach Program.

St. Charles County paramedics take time out of their own schedules to run CPR classes for the community. Since the program began six years ago, more than 5,000 people have learned CPR.

“Brain death or hypoxia can occur from lack of oxygen in just four minutes. So they key is for more citizens, more people to learn these lifesaving skills,” said David Lewis, assistant chief with the St. Charles County ambulance district.

“I don't know what I would've done. It just makes me realize how important it is,” said Kimberly.

Prater will be presented with a commendation from the ambulance district and he's also been asked him to serve as an honorary Heimlich instructor. There are two classes scheduled for September:

Monday, September 12; 5:30pm-8:30pm
Lake St. Louis Community Association
100 Cognac Court, Lake St. Louis

Saturday, September 17th; 10am-2pm
Progress West Hospital Day of Play
2 Progress Point Parkway, O’Fallon