Rescue methods in lifesaving are classified into three types: aid given to the drowning person from shore or by wading, rescues made by means of a rowboat, and rescues made by swimming.
|A. By Reaching and Wading|
Aid given to a drowning person from shore or by wading is safest for the rescuer, who need not be a swimmer or have any other special aquatic abilities. By standing on a low bank or swimming dock, a rescuer can extend a hand or a foot for the victim to grasp. If the drowning person is out of reach, one end of a shirt, sweater, oar, boat hook, fishing rod, or board may be extended to the person, who may then be drawn to safety. For a person in difficulty farther away, lines or ring buoys with attached lines may be thrown with accuracy up to 18 to 21 m (60 to 70 ft) to draw the victim to safety.
These methods can also be used when the victim, although out of reach from shore, is not too far beyond shallow water to be reached by wading. When using the hand to rescue the victim, the rescuer should always grasp the victim, and never allow the victim to grasp the rescuer.
In a rescue by rowboat, the rescuer or rescuers should not lose sight of the victim or of the place in the water where the victim became submerged. The best way to keep the victim in view is to back the boat in the person's direction, provided the distance is not too great or the danger of drowning immediate. Otherwise, it is advisable for two persons to be in the boat, one to row and the other to direct the course.
Contact is best made by putting the stern of the boat within grasp of the victim. If the drowning person is unable to grab the boat’s stern, the pilot should reach over the stern and seize the victim. Occasionally there is no time to turn the boat about; in such cases the oarsman may extend an oar to the victim and swing the swimmer around to the stern preparatory to bringing the person aboard. The boat should not be run alongside a drowning person; doing so allows the victim to clutch the gunwale and to perhaps capsize the boat.
Only skilled swimmers who have been trained in specific lifesaving techniques should make swimming rescues. Lifesavers are taught how to approach a drowning person, how to grasp the victim, and how to put the victim in a position to be carried to shore safely. They are trained also in exact methods of avoiding being seized by the victim or, if seized, of releasing the victim’s hold by submerging and applying leverage to break the grasp.
Several methods are used in carrying a victim to shore. The simplest carrying method is to swim on the side, towing the victim by the hair in a face-up position. Other carries are the tired-swimmer carry, which assists a person who is merely exhausted; the cross-chest carry, which controls a struggling victim; and the head carry, which is used in rough water.
Additional methods are used to recover victims from beneath the water surface and to resuscitate them. These include surface diving, underwater swimming, and bottom searching to recover submerged victims
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