Drowning Doesn't Look Like Drowning

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jadairiii

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As a lifeguard, the last resort to helping a drowning/panicked swimmer is going to the victim and making physical contact (at least it used to be.) .

Interesting. I took my life guard/life saving class in 1982 and this is the exact opposite of what we were taught. We were taught "get there and get it done" sort of, mainly because once the person goes under, you lose sight of the victim, making it harder to rescue. Obviously a pool is different from open water, but we were trained to respond the same regardless of location.
 

Bowers

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Interesting. I took my life guard/life saving class in 1982 and this is the exact opposite of what we were taught. We were taught "get there and get it done" sort of, mainly because once the person goes under, you lose sight of the victim, making it harder to rescue. Obviously a pool is different from open water, but we were trained to respond the same regardless of location.
Reach, throw, row and go are the orders of operations taught now. But that is a “choose the least risk that will work” strategy, so it’s ok to jump straight to the “go” if the situation dictates it.
 

kelemvor

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I use this clip when teaching rescue. Nothing like seeing the real thing...
I found another one before reading your post, because I wasn't sure what it would really look like. You can see what's going on a little better in this video. In this one, the kid looks to me like he's swimming around just fine. By the time you realize he isn't, you can't see him at all. The kid didn't make it, despite being about 1 foot from a friend.

 

VikingDives

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I found another one before reading your post, because I wasn't sure what it would really look like. You can see what's going on a little better in this video. In this one, the kid looks to me like he's swimming around just fine. By the time you realize he isn't, you can't see him at all. The kid didn't make it, despite being about 1 foot from a friend.


Thanks for sharing this. That's definitely going into my training.
 

jonhall

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Interesting. I took my life guard/life saving class in 1982 and this is the exact opposite of what we were taught. We were taught "get there and get it done" sort of, mainly because once the person goes under, you lose sight of the victim, making it harder to rescue. Obviously a pool is different from open water, but we were trained to respond the same regardless of location.

I became a water safety instructor somewhere between 1977-78. Trained a lot of lifeguards using the American Red Cross standards. Interesting that one would be taught, as a first resort, to risk their life before considering other options.

Reach, throw, row and go are the orders of operations taught now. But that is a “choose the least risk that will work” strategy, so it’s ok to jump straight to the “go” if the situation dictates it.

Sounds about right. The scary thing is that there are people who are untrained but would still jump in to rescue someone. Small children maybe, but other adults? Would they know what to do if a panicked swimmer got them in a headlock?

Reminds me of a story I was told years ago where 8 people drown in an 8 ft deep pond as one by one, each jumped in to rescue the one before them.
 

dmaziuk

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Interesting. I took my life guard/life saving class in 1982 and this is the exact opposite of what we were taught. We were taught "get there and get it done" sort of, mainly because once the person goes under, you lose sight of the victim, making it harder to rescue. Obviously a pool is different from open water, but we were trained to respond the same regardless of location.

Forever ago in a country that no longer exist I was taught that if I get close enough, there's a very good chance the victim will try to climb up on top of me and push me under, so "be ready to knock 'em out if they try".
 

boulderjohn

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Okay, let's talk about what is taught in a typical rescue diver class, compared to normal lifesaving.

First, unlike the topic of this thread, the rescue techniques taught focus on the panicked, splashing, yelling diver, rather than the true diver about to drown. (This is true in lifesaving, too.)
  • The rescuer is taught to approach such a person, but not close enough to be mauled by that person.
  • Unlike the the lifesaving rescuer, the diving rescuer is wearing a floatation device (BCD).
  • Unlike the lifesaving rescue victim, the victim is wearing a floatation device (BCD).
  • The approaching rescuer is taught to try to get the victim to inflate that BCD, both by calling out and by demonstrating.
  • The approaching victim is taught to keep a safe distance and hold the body in a position that will allow a quick escape (lie back and kick) if the victim makes an attempt to grab the rescuer.
  • The approaching rescuer is taught techniques to get behind the panicked diver safely, where the rescuer can get control and inflate the victim's BCD.
  • The approaching rescuer is taught that the panicked, splashing victim is more in danger of becoming exhausted than drowning, so there is no need for ridiculous hasty action.
 

D_B

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gratifying to see lots of reads :) it's now kind of morphing into what to do .. the biggest thing is know what to watch for and to be more observant .. just like what was taught in my rescue diver class
 

jadairiii

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Forever ago in a country that no longer exist I was taught that if I get close enough, there's a very good chance the victim will try to climb up on top of me and push me under, so "be ready to knock 'em out if they try".

In my class, we were taught to approach the victim and just before we would be in their reach, dive under, grab their ankles, spin them so their back is to you, swim up while keeping in contact and then put them in the "rescue hold" and swim back. Done right, it is very very quick and seamless, under 2 seconds, and you will be in complete control of the victim. I was never taught to "knock them out".

I knew my instructor, guy was 3 inches taller then me, and out weighed me by at least 50 pounds, excellent swimmer and in great condition. He kicked my ass when I had to "rescue" him and swim him back the length of an Olympic sized pool, fought me constantly, trying to grab me and drown me, but I controlled him the whole why, even to the point of spinning me under as I was swimming him back. Way more than I believe you would ever encounter.
 

jadairiii

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I became a water safety instructor somewhere between 1977-78. Trained a lot of lifeguards using the American Red Cross standards. Interesting that one would be taught, as a first resort, to risk their life before considering other options.....

I really didnt have time to go through my whole class. You are correct, (and as I was also taught) if I came to a pool in which the person was just asking for a bit of assistance a ring buoy would be my first option, but this whole thread was how hard it is to recognize a drowning victim. Often, we as rescuers, dont get there when a life ring will solve the problem, we get there when a mob of people have been filming the drowning person with their Iphones or worse, no one was even paying attention and the victim is drifting underwater for the last time. You toss a ring buoy in most of these cases we've discussed, it goes to an empty spot. And I have been in situations were the victim, on the surface, would not even go to the life ring, after multiple throws. I've had to hand it to the, hand them the tag line, had to inflate their BC's. People vapor lock when panic sets in.

The few rescues I've done, I was always "late to the party" so to speak.
 
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