How to Save Someone Who’s Drowning

Drowning is one of the leading causes of accidental death worldwide. Everyone should know how to help a drowning victim.

So what should you do if you encounter someone that’s drowning?

Firstly, look after yourself and be mindful of danger. You don’t want to end up in the same position as the person you’re trying to save. If you become a second victim, you will delay help to the original victim! Never enter the water unless you’ve received specific training and are confident to do so.

Once the victim’s out of the water, check to see if they’re conscious by checking their response. If they’re unconscious, open their airway and check for breathing for up to 10 seconds.

If they’re not breathing normally, give five rescue breaths, then start cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) – chest compressions and breathing – at a ratio of thirty (30) compressions to two (2) breaths.

If you’re on your own, do this for a minute before telephoning for further help. If there’s a bystander about, get them to phone for you.

If the victim is conscious, lie them down with their head lower than the rest of their body and allow any water to drain from their mouth. Monitor their vital signs and be aware that the victim may deteriorate quickly and require CPR if they stop breathing normally.

Prevent hypothermia by providing the patient with dry clothing and use any warm material to hand to keep them warm and dry. A warm drink would be helpful if one’s available.

Call EMS and arrange for the victim to be checked out by the medical professionals. Every victim of a drowning episode must be assessed by a healthcare professional, even if they appear to recover. The secondary effects of drowning can be delayed for several hours after the initial event.

John Furst

JOHN FURST is an experienced emergency medical technician and qualified first aid and CPR instructor. John is passionate about first aid and believes everyone should have the skills and confidence to take action in an emergency situation.

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