updated 3/20/2009 1:12:21 PM ET 2009-03-20T17:12:21

A 15-year-old in Southern California who hopes to become a firefighter saved his English teacher's life with the Heimlich maneuver when she was choking on an almond.

Judy Rader said she popped a few of the nuts into her mouth at the start of Wednesday's third period class at Cypress High School. Freshman Sam Barrera sprang into action after she started hopping up and down and gasping.

The teen wrapped his arms around her from behind and squeezed hard, dislodging the nut. He learned the lifesaving technique in an online health course.

For the effort, the teacher rewarded Barrera with a big hug of her own.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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