What to do in the event of drowning

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  • Get the victim out of the water as soon as possible, but do not become a victim yourself. Make sure it is safe for you to enter the water first.
  • Handle the person with care. Many submersion incidents are associated with neck injuries, so keep movement to the back and neck to a minimum.
  • Assess to see if the person is awake by asking, “Hello, can you hear me?”
  • Check for breathing by looking at the chest for no longer than 10 seconds. If the person is not breathing or not breathing normally (i.e. gasping), call immediately for medical assistance.
  • Call, or have someone call, a recognised medical emergency service provider soon as possible. The caller must give the call taker an accurate location of the incident and a contact number at the scene. If you are unsure of the exact location, the nearest intersection or large landmark would also be helpful.
  • Never hang up on the call taker until they say you can do so, and always return to the rescuer to inform them that you have called for help.
  • If the person is not breathing, immediately start CPR, beginning with chest compressions. Keep doing CPR at a ratio of 30 chest compressions, and then 2 breaths.
  • CPR is vital, even if it is an amateur administering it. Keep on doing it until someone who is trained in advanced life support arrives and can take over.
  • All parents should learn how to administer child CPR, as it differs from adult CPR. All people can benefit from CPR training – it is not a difficult skill to learn.