When you see a drowning victim while swimming at the beach or pool, act quickly. In most cases, you’ll only have a few minutes to save a drowning person, so if the lifeguard is not around, the person might die. Being prepared is vital as it will make the much needed difference in saving a life. However, never attempt to rescue someone if you’re inexperienced as the move could put your own life at risk. Several other factors come into play here.
Evaluate the Situation
It’s incorrect to assume that a person who is drowning will throw their arms in the air and scream for help. Actually, they may remain quiet and still, which is very dangerous indeed. To save a drowning victim, you must establish whether or not the person really needs help. These signs will be visible:
- Vertically bobbing while in the water. A person who is swimming normally should be moving forward.
- The head will be going under water momentarily and coming out again.
- Unable to scream. A person lacking adequate oxygen in the lungs will not be able to yell for help meaning that pace must be hastened in order to save him/her.
Call for Help
You may require combined effort in order to save a drowning victim. This is regardless of your training and experience level. Accepting assistance from other people is vital because the victim may need CPR too. If the victim is unconscious after being removed from the water, emergency services must be called right away.
Choose a Rescue Method
Before you rush into the water, choose a rescue method to use. There are numerous options available but the best one to use largely depends on the water body type and the location of the victim. Here are several effective methods:
- You can reach out to the victim. If the person is close to the edge, take hold of an arm or leg.
- If the victim is not close to the edge but not far away either, you can use a long stick to offer assistance.
- Throw a rescue device such as a floater or a life ring to the victim.
- To save a drowning victim that you are unable to reach, dive into the water.
Rescue the Victim
When you’re in the water attempting to rescue the victim, always stay calm. Never show signs of stress as this may lead the victim into a panic mode which will consequently prevent a successful rescue mission. Remember to call out to the person drowning so that he/she can know that help is on the way. Speak in a clear, loud voice because your words may take a while to register on the victim’s mind.
When you want to save a drowning victim, hold the person from behind. This is because the victim will hold tightly to you and thus pull you underwater. Also, never try reach for a victim while standing on the edge of the water body because you risk being dragged into the water, so always perform this rescue technique while squatting.