What are the first aid protocols for saving a drowning victim? -

Instant first aid should be given to a person who has been rescued from drowning, along with immediate medical attention.

What are the causes of drowning accidents?

There are numerous causes for which people get drowned or are in near drowning situations. Some of the most common ones are:

–          Seizures or blows to the head when under water.

–          Attempt to commit suicide.

–          Falling via thin ice.

–          Consuming alcohol whilst swimming, boating etc.

–          Unattended children left around pools or bathtubs.

–          Panic while swimming or incapability to swim.

Facts related to drowning

In USA, thousands drown every year. Most of the accidents take place within close proximities to safety zones. With immediate first aid and medical attention, a life can be saved. The concerning victim of drowning, is incapable of even shouting for help. Therefore, it is important to seek for drowning signs. Children on the other hand, can drown within few inches of water only. You can revive a drowning victim, in spite of the fact that he/she has been under water for a long duration. This is possible only if the victim is young and the water – cold. Every one of us should be alert. Check whether the victim is fully clothed or not. Look out for uneven motions of swimming, which is a sign of tiredness.

Symptoms of near drowning:

  1. Vomiting
  2. Restlessness
  3. Confusion
  4. Chest ache
  5. Pale appearance of the victim
  6. Cold skin
  7. Bluish skin – mostly around the victim’s lips
  8. Abdominal distention
  9. Unconsciousness
  10. Lack of breathing
  11. Lethargy
  12. Coughing froth

How to bring back a drowning victim on land?

  • First and foremost, as a rescuer you need to wear a flotation device personally (only if it is available). Safety is must for you too.
  • Call 911 or make someone call and remember to give the details of location etc. thoroughly.
  • If you find the victim to be conscious then try reaching him or her. The best thing to do is pull the person or grab onto him or her.
  • If you’re unable to reach the victim, use a rope to pull him/her.
  • If still unable to make the victim grab onto the rope, tie it around your waist and then head out to the victim. But remember to tie the rope to a boat or onto someone and then proceed towards the victim.
  • You should keep in mind that you should not touch a victim directly, if he/she is in a panic mode.
  • If the concerning victim is not conscious, then you should take the boat to reach him/her or try tying the rope around your waist and pull the victim back to the shore.
  • After you’ve become successful in bring the victim out of the water safely, you need to immediately perform first aid. But before that, remember to remove the wet clothing from the victim’s body and cover him/her with a blanket.

Call for professional assistance or 911 if only you aren’t able to rescue the victim of drowning. Every near-drowning victim should be checked by a healthcare personnel and this goes for a person who has been able to get revival. (lung issues)

First aid


Once the victim is pulled out of the water, and covered with a blanket, check for hypothermia symptoms. If you find the victim not breathing then instantly start giving CPR.

Be cautious when bringing the victim out of water. You don’t want to hurt his/her spine or neck (if it is already injured). Avoid bending or turning his/her neck. When giving CPR, make sure to keep the neck and head of the victim still, even when you’re moving the person.

The best thing to do, for ensuring the above – is to tape the victim’s head to a stretcher or backboard. You need to secure his/her neck. To do so, place rolled up towels or similar things around the person’s neck!

–          First aid should be meted out to victims of drowning who have suffered serious injuries

–          Throughout the rescue and first aid process, make sure to keep the victim still and calm.

–          Keep the person as warm as possible, in order to prevent occurrence of hypothermia.


–          Don’t go ahead rescuing the victim by jumping into the water, if you’re not a trained or a swimmer yourself.

–          Don’t jump into turbulent or rough water.

–          Don’t jump into ice water. Instead reach out to the victim with an extended hand or object.

CPR and first aid for drowning victim does not include the Heimlich maneuver. You should perform this protocol only if positioning the airway and rescue breathing has failed. Heimlich’s maneuver is not advised because it might make the victim vomit and choke.

‘Near drowning’ victims need immediate medical attention because accumulation of water in lungs – irrespective of the amount – can cause constant fluid accumulation, which is fatal.

Prevention is – any day – better cure. Therefore, be cautious when in and around water bodies. Avoid alcohol consumption, when boating or swimming. Don’t leave water standing anywhere, even if it a basin, bathtub or bucket – because drowning can take place in any water container. Never forget to keep the toilet seat cover on (for child safety purposes). Don’t allow children to go swimming unsupervised. Always take heed of water safety and rules. If required, take up a course in water safety, as well as, first aid and CPR!


  1. Avatar
    dr vikas
    October 10, 2015 05:10 Reply

    if hypothrmia is protactive in cardiac arrest then why to keep warm the pt sir

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