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How to Save a Drowning Victim and Give First Aid

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Assessing the Situation:-

Determine whether the person is drowning-Active drowning victims are conscious but are struggling and unable to call for help. They also may be thrashing their arms. It is very important for you to recognize these signs early as people will become submerged in 20 to 60 seconds.

Shout for help-No matter your experience or training, having others assist you is a good idea. Yell to others that someone is drowning. Especially if the person is floating face-down.

Decide which rescue method to use-Remain calm and figure out how you can best rescue the person based on the location and type of body of water the person is in. Find a flotation device if you can. If the person is close, use a reach method. If the person is further away, use an ocean rescue method.

  • It may take a few seconds to get the person's attention. Stay calm and continue to talk to them.
  • If you have one available, a shepherd's crook can reach someone beyond the range of a reaching assist in a pool or lake.
  • Use a ring buoy or other easy to throw rescue device to reach a victim further away from the shore; this is also used in an ocean rescue.
  • Dive into the water and swim to the victim as a last resort, when the victim is out of reach.


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Performing a Reaching Assist:-

Lie face down on the edge of the pool or dock-Spread your legs to make sure that you are in a stable position. Never extend yourself to the point where you lose your balance. Reach out to the person and yell, "Grab my hand/arm/paddle!" You may have to yell multiple times before the person hears or sees you. Speak in a voice that is loud, clear and confident.

  • This type of rescue is only helpful if the drowning victim is within reach of the side of the pool, pier, or close to the shore.
  • Reach out your dominant hand, since you'll be using your strength to pull the victim to safety.
  • Grab a long metal pole with a hook you can use to extend your reach if the person is a little too far for your arm to reach. Almost anything that can add a few feet to your reach can help.
  • A floating aid with a line attached is ideal because the line can help you pull the victim in. A ring buoy, life jacket, and floating cushions are often found at lifeguard stations at pools and outdoor swimming areas.
  • Swim rescues should be used as a last resort. They require training and very good swimming skills. Victims are often thrashing and panicking which can make it hazardous to perform a swimming rescue.
  • Pull the person safely out of the water and gently help him or her get onto dry ground.


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Caring for the Victim after the Rescue:-

Assess the person's ABCs - airway, breathing and circulation. Determine if the person is breathing in and out, and if anything is obstructing his or her airway. If the person is not breathing, feel for a pulse on the wrist or the side of the neck. The pulse should be checked for 10 seconds.

Start CPR-If the person has no pulse, begin performing CPR. For adults and children, place the heel of one hand on the centre of the chest or place one hand on top of the other. Perform 30 chest compressions at the rate of 100 per minute. Press down about 2 inches. Allow the chest to rise completely between pushes. Check to see if the person has started breathing. Do not press on the victim's ribs.

Give breaths if the person is still not breathing-Only give breaths if you are trained in CPR. Begin by tilting the head back and lifting the person's chin. Pinch the nose, cover the victim's mouth with yours, and give 2, one second breaths. Watch to make sure the chest is rising. Follow the 2 breaths with 30 chest compressions. Continue this cycle until the person begins breathing or professional emergency help arrives.


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