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A lot of viewers following the story of the man who choked to death early Sunday morning asked whether Voodoo Donuts specifically and Colorado restaurants generally train employees in CPR and/or the Heimlich maneuver.


First we wanted to ascertain whether any state has a law requiring training for food service employees.

That answer is yes.

We found 12 states with laws about helping choking victims. You can find links to each of the state laws or choking poster at the bottom of this story.

1. Arkansas                                                           7. Maryland
2. Connecticut                                                      8. Michigan
3. Georgia                                                             9. New Jersey
4. Florida                                                              10. New York
5. Illinois                                                               11. Oregon
6. Kentucky                                                          12. Rhode Island

Some states on the list like Arkansas and Florida require restaurants hang posters that illustrate how to perform the Heimlich maneuver or what the Red Cross calls the “abdominal thrust” procedure.

And Oregon, which is where Voodoo Donuts originated, requires business owners to train all food service employees in the Red Cross’ technique “within a reasonable time after date of employment.”

It’s important to note that the majority of these states also have a liability law on their books specifically for restaurant employees. These laws shield employees from lawsuits if they injure a choking customer while trying to help.

So, does Colorado have a law like this?

We searched Colorado’s revised statutes, called the Colorado Restaurant Association and searched the Code of Colorado Regulations available on the Secretary of State’s website.

And the answer is no.

The same goes for Denver, said Meghan Hughes, a spokesperson for the Denver Department of Environmental Health.

The department oversees restaurant inspections, and Hughes couldn’t find any regulations about signs or employee training.

That means it’s up to individual restaurants and chains to decide what kind of training or signs they want to provide their employees.

We called Voodoo Donuts to ask what kind of training it provides the employees at the Denver location. We know its Oregon employees get training, but we didn’t hear back from the doughnut shop’s Denver location.


It’s tragic no one could save Travis Malouff when he choked to death Sunday morning.

We don't know what kind of training Voodoo employees had, but we do know Colorado doesn’t require training for food service employees. And it's not clear the Centennial State provides legal protections for employees who try to help.

If you want to take a class in CPR or other life saving techniques, click here