[HEALTH TIPS] Six steps to Rescue a Drowning Person


Drowning patients are probably the most dangerous patients to try to rescue. In a panic, drowning patients are likely to claw at rescuers and climb to the surface at all costs.

Never attempt a direct rescue of a conscious drowning patient without proper training. There are many reports of drowning patients and their would-be rescuers being lost together, especially in icy waters.

Below are six steps to take when rescuing a drowning person:

  1. Stay Safe. Wear a personal flotation device if available. The most important thing to remember is not to become a patient yourself.
  2. If more than one rescuer is available, have someone call 911 immediately. Remember, if calling 911 from a cell phone, be sure to say your location carefully and do not hang up until the 911 dispatcher tells you to do so.
  3. If the patient is conscious, try to reach the patient with something rigid enough to pull him or her back. An oar is a good option. If possible, always use an intermediary tool rather than reaching out with your arms. That way, if the patient starts yanking you in, you can let go to protect yourself.
  4. If nothing will reach, throw the patient a rope and encourage him or her to grab on. A life-preserver with a rope attached is a very good option.

If the patient is too far for a rope, then there are few additional options for untrained rescuers. Make sure 911 has been called. If                   enough people are available, try making a chain by holding hands out to the patient. A rescuer may try swimming out to the patient,             but follow these steps:2Tie a rope around the rescuer’s waist before heading out to the patient and have someone on shore or on a                 nearby boat holding the rope.

Take a pole, oar, rope, or other object to reach the patient. Rescuers should not attempt to directly touch a panicking drowning                     patient.

5.If the patient is unconscious, take a boat to the patient or tie a rope around the rescuer’s waist and let the rescuer pull the                         patient to shore.

6.Once a drowning patient is safely out of the water, perform basic first aid. In cold weather, remove the patient’s wet clothing — all                 the way. Cover the patient with a blanket and watch for symptoms of hypothermia. If the patient is not breathing, begin CPR.