Rescuing techniques

Drowning can happen to anyone in the water. Whether it’s at a pool or in the ocean, drowning can strike anyone, even the rescuer. That is why you need to recognize and plan a rescue, know the different ways you can help them, and to know what to do if you’re on a boat.

To an onlooker a person may not look like they are drowning. When a person is struggling to surface above the water it usually lasts about 20-60 seconds before sinking under water. A person who can still shout is in danger, but not in immediate danger to someone who cannot do so. When you are actively drowning you can’t call for help and you can’t reach for aid. When you are unconscious you are probably not breathing, contact is required, and it is extremely urgent. When rescuing there are different ways to rescue a person. You can reach for the person using your hand or an extension of your hand like a stick. You can throw something that can float and that they can grab onto. You can row a boat out to them and help them aboard and take them to shore. You can also just go and run out to them and help swim them back to shore.

Always stay calm. Evaluate the situation. Is this an active drowning situation or a tired swimmer? Is anyone rescuing the victim? Act on your evaluation. Inform a life guard or park ranger. If no one is acting have someone call for help. Plan the rescue. Don’t hesitate to ask for help. There are different rescue tactics Reach: conscious victim nearby. Throw: conscious victim far-off. Row: far-off victim. Go: unconscious victim. Reaching Rescue: use your hand or a pole to reach conscious victim near the edge of a pool or dock. Lie down on your stomach and brace yourself as you offer your hand or leg. If you are using a pole or a paddle, lean back as you place the pole to the side of the victim. Tell the victim what you want them to do. Reaching rescue works if a swimmer is conscious and within reach, if a swimmer is actively drowning or unconscious this method may not work. Throwing rescue out of reach conscious victim PFD’s or any flotation device works coil unweighted rope then throw. Throw up stream from victim. You can use a throwing line or bag.

When a person is drowning in a fast current and is stuck or drowning use the throw method. If that doesn’t work wait for boats or a certified and trained person to be on the spot. Then they can handle it and you can ask if there is any way that you can help and if not stay out of the way. Even professionals can get in trouble in fast-moving water. If you lose your boat, don’t panic. It is best not to attempt a rowing rescue in swift water unless you are trained. If you can’t safely throw a line, call for help. If you are boating and you see a swimmer try to help him aboard and go to shore. If you can’t get him or her onto your boat have them hold onto your boat and get to shore. Give them simple instructions to follow during the rescue. Paddling upstream is much more dangerous than downstream. Always keep calm whether you’re the victim or the helper. Conserve your energy as much as possible. Try to help yourself as much as you can and don’t rely just on other people.
Pararescue Indoctrination Course has physical conditioning, obstacle courses, diving physics, medical and driving terminology, CPR, weapon training, and two swimming rescues. Non-contact rescue have rescue aids with them. Contact rescue require you to touch them. Steps in a swimming assist. Assessment: Don’t enter the water until you have a plan that is safe for both you and the victim. Entry: The entry depends on water clarity and depth, condition of subject, and aid. Approach: Shout encouragement to the victim. Keep the victim’s location pinpointed. Modify breaststroke or crawl to carry aid. Ready position: Reevaluate the victim’s condition. Instruct the victim in what to do. Present aid. Ready position: Reevaluate the victim’s condition. Instruct the victim in what to do. Present aid. Landing: Assist the subject from the water, getting help from bystanders if needed. Aftercare: Arrange appropriate medical aid.

So drowning is very serious, but can be helped if we tell a certified lifeguard or even just a good swimmer about it, we can help the person in need.


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