The majority of recommendations for emergency aid involve the following key requirement: the rescuer must first ensure their own safety. From this point of view the rescuing of a drowning person is one of the riskiest actions for someone who is trying to be a rescuer. Those who aren’t prepared physically and have no special skills in saving people from the water can help only in shallow waters, in a children's pool, or in a situation where a small child is drowning, i.e. when in order to rescue you only need to put out a hand, but don’t need to float on the water and swim.
No book will prepare you physically or teach techniques for rescuing drowning people.
If you are not confident about your own abilities, if you are out of your depths — scream, shout for help, but don’t increase the number of victims with your helping enthusiasm!
If you, however, decided to help, try to do it without getting into the water, by using improvised (ropes, sticks, rubber rings, etc.) and floating (lifeboats, motor boats, etc.) means.
When you provide emergency aid it makes absolutely no difference:
- what kind of water it is (salted, fresh, chlorinated);
- how old the victim is;
- what skin colour they have (pale, blue);
- how long they spent under the water (with the obvious proviso that there are no signs of biological death).
Emergency assistance should be provided to all the drowned until professional rescuers arrive.
And once again NOTE!
Your actions will be always the same!
Your primary task is to remove the victim from the water ASAP.
If the child shows no signs of life:
- lay them on their back;
- remove clothes preventing you from giving help;
- begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (complex of measures, aimed rescuing a person from clinical death).
Resuscitation procedure consists of three successive stages:
- cardiac massage;
- ensuring patency of airways;
- artificial resuscitation.
If the child shows no signs of life, don’t waste your time on attempts to remove the water from their lungs:
- laying the victim face down on the knee of a rescuer, etc.;
- raising the saved holding their legs;
- pounding them on the back.
Neither you (by reading) nor I (by writing) made any mistakes: don’t waste time on attempts to remove the water from the lungs!
There is either none or little water in the lungs (it has been absorbed into the bloodstream), or it is impossible to be removed by any of the means described above. The small amount of water you are able to extract will be removed in the course of compressions in the process of resuscitation.
If the victim shows: consciousness /breathing/coughing/movement of limbs/heaves or if any of the above conditions appeared during the time of your emergency assistance:
- give a child the opportunity to take a position most comfortable for them, or put them in a stable position on one side;
- don’t move away from the victim even for a second and keep an eye on them: their condition may worsen and require resuscitation at any time;
- remove wet clothes;
- actively warm them up— not just wrap them in something dry, but use warm clothes, blankets, even better (if available) — heating pads, heaters, dryers, etc. If possible, put the child in a warm room or put them next to a fire;
- if the child is conscious (able to sit) and shows no urge for vomiting, it is advisable to give them small sips of warm drinks (water, tea, juice).
No matter how well, in your opinion the child's condition is, they should in any case be taken to a hospital for medical examination. Sharp deterioration after any drowning is the rule rather than the exception!
- Teach children how to swim.
- Teach those who are able to swim to relax on the water.
- Use only equipped beaches.
- Any movement of a child toward the water must be agreed with adults.
- You can't let kids swim unattended, even if they can swim. It is very important to make sure that an adult in charge is not afraid of water and is not under the influence of intoxicating beverages.
- Do not swim for long time in cold water.
- Don't allow them to push each other or jump onto each other while in the water.
- Strictly forbid children to dive, if they can't swim.
- Do not allow children to swim far or beyond the buoys and swim across bodies of water.
- Strictly punish games with cries of "HELP!".
- Do not allow children diving without checking the reservoir depth and the condition of the bottom.
- Strictly forbid jumping into the water in unfamiliar places and from cliffs.
- The child who cannot swim shall not be allowed in the water without an inflatable vest (tube, bracers) and further than waist-deep.
- Be very careful with inflatable mattresses, boats, tubes. Do not allow children to use them independently where it is deep, windy, where strong current is present, or when any heaving of the sea is possible.
- Do not overload boats.
- The child in the boat must be wearing a lifejacket.
- Do not dive from boats, don’t change positions, don’t sit on the side, and ban children from doing so.
- Do not sail along a navigable waterway.
- Remember: more children drown in pools than in open waters.
- Never leave a child alone in a bath or a pool.
- Do not delegate the older children a task to look after younger ones while swimming anywhere (in a river, in a pool, in a bath).
- Empty water containers (cans, buckets, and baths) immediately after use.
- Containers, constantly filled with water (for example, a barrel in the yard), must be inaccessible to children or closed.
- Shield and close pools, wells, bathrooms.