Drowning First Aid Guide


A person can die of drowning four to six minutes after breathing stops. Although prevention is the wisest course, follow these steps in care of a drowning emergency.
  • Get the victim out of the water fast. Be extremely cautious, because a drowning person may panic and grasp at a rescuer, endangering that individual as well. If possible, push a branch or pole within the victim’s reach.
  • If the victim is unconscious, use a flotation device if at all possible. Carefully place the person on the device. Once out of the water, place the victim on his or her back.
  • If the victim is not breathing, start mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Continue until the person can breathe unassisted or help arrives. (NOTE that it may take an hour or two for a drowning victim to resume independent breathing.) Do not leave the victim alone for any reason.
  • Once the person is breathing without assistance, even if he or she is still coughing, you need only to stay nearby until professional help arrives.


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