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In case of a Drowning- Please take 5 min to arm your family and yourself with knowledge that could save a life

December 9, 2011

In a drowning emergency, the sooner rescue and first aid is administered, the greater chance the victim has of surviving. Do not endanger yourself during this process.

Rescue options to reach the drowning victim in the water

  • Throw a rope with a buoyant object to the victim.
  • Use a long stick to reach the victim.
  • Bring a canoe alongside the victim and tow the victim to shore. Do not haul the victim into the boat because it may cause the boat to capsize, and both of you will be in the water. Cold water may render the victim too hypothermic to grasp objects within their reach or to hold on to while being pulled to safety.
  • As a last resort, you can attempt a swimming rescue if you are sufficiently trained in water rescue. Do not attempt a rescue beyond your capabilities. Otherwise, you may harm yourself.
    • For a swimming rescue, approach the person from behind while trying to calm the victim as you move closer. A panicked victim can pull you down.
    • Grab a piece of clothing or cup a hand or arm under the victim’s chin and pull the person face up to shore while providing special care to ensure a straight head-neck-back alignment especially if you think the person has spine injuries.
    • The best option would be to float the victim on a board while towing to shore.

Rescue options for someone who has fallen through the ice

  • Do not walk on the ice to rescue someone.
  • Instead, throw a rope or offer a long stick to pull the victim out and across on the ice onto the person’s belly to distribute the weight as evenly as possible.
  • Avoid having the victim try to climb on the ice edge because it results in more ice breaking.
  • If the victim is unconscious, tie a rope around your waist, secure the other end, and slide out on the ice on your belly to reach the victim.
  • Another technique is to form a human chain with everyone lying down to reach the victim.

First aid for a drowning victim

  • The focus of the first aid for a drowning victim in the water is to get oxygen into the lungs without aggravating any suspected neck injury.
  • If the victim’s breathing has stopped, begin mouth-to-mouth rescue breathing as soon as you safely can. This could mean starting the breathing process in the water.
  • Follow the American Heart Association guidelines if the victim isn’t breathing. If other persons are available, send somebody to call 911 and another to get an automatic external defibrillator (AED).
  • Begin rescue breathing as soon as you safely can. This could mean starting the breathing process in the water.
  • Continue to breathe for the person every five seconds while moving the victim to the shore.
  • Chest compressions in the water are difficult to do without a flat surface that does not give way and are reserved until such a surface is available.
  • Once on shore, reassess the victim’s breathing and circulation (heartbeat and pulse). If there is breathing and circulation without suspected spine injury, place the person in recovery position (lying on the side, arms extended at the shoulder level and bent, head on the side with the leg on the same side drawn up at a right angle to the torso) to keep the airway clear and to help prevent aspiration should vomiting occur.
  • Keep the person warm by removing wet clothing and covering with warm blankets to prevent hypothermia.
  • Remain with the recovering person until emergency medical personnel have arrived

“Time Saves lives, Helivac saves Both”

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