Friday, 8 August 2014

How to Rescue a Drowning Victim

According to the World Health Organisation, drowning is the tenth leading cause of death among adults 15-45 years of age and the fourth in young children. When most people think of drowning, they imagine a lone figure struggling in the ocean, although this scenario is common, an individual can drown in a short space of time, in any amount of water that covers the mouth and nose. Read on to discover how to rescue a drowning victim.  

The sooner a drowning victim receives help, the more likelihood of survival, therefore it is crucial to alert lifeguards or emergency services immediately. If assistance isn’t readily available, shout for help and take steps to rescue the victim. Assess the situation; the victim should be removed from the water as soon as possible. If the victim is unable to be reached quickly, inform them that help is on the way and to stay as calm as possible.

If the victim is in a swimming pool or the ocean, the longer they remain in the water, the more panicked they may become. It’s important to remember this while assessing the best way to save the victim, as the rescuer’s actions may put them are risk of drowning. If possible, use nearby items to assist the victim in removing themselves from the water. If the rescuer must enter the water, it is important to hold on to a secure item, out of the water, if possible. The victim can then be pulled towards the rescuer and to safety. If this is not a possibility, look for items which can be throw into the water, to assist the victim in staying above water until they can be reached.

Entering the water to save a drowning victim is the most dangerous option for the rescuer. If possible, a buoy can be kept between victim and rescuer as a safety precaution. If the victim shows signs of putting the rescuer in danger, the rescuer should exit the rescue, reassess the situation and reattempt the rescue, if safe to do so.

Once the victim is out of the water, check for signs of breathing. Is the victim’s chest moving? Can air be felt on the rescuer’s cheek when placed near the victim’s nose and mouth? If the victim is breathing, they need to be kept warm until emergency services arrive.

If breathing isn’t detected, check for a pulse on the wrist or side of the neck. If there is no pulse,CPR must be administered.

The victim should be placed onto their back before CPR begins. The heel of one hand is placed onto the centre of the chest; two fingers are placed on the breastbone for an infant. Press down about 2 inches for an adult of child, for an infant about 1 and ½ inches. Press on the chest 30 times, at the rate of 100 per minute, making sure to avoid pressing on the ribs or the end of the breastbone.  Check to see if the victim has started breathing and if not, repeat the process until emergency services arrive.

If the rescuer has been trained in CPR, they can tilt the head back and lift the chin to open the airway. The nose of the victim is then pinched close. The victim’s mouth is then covered with the rescuer’s and the rescuer gives two one-second breaths. Two breaths are followed by thirty chest compressions. This routine is repeated until the victim begins to breath or emergency services arrive.

Photo source: KB's Room

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