Rescuing a drowning victim

A soldier takes a breather while swimming 25 meters with a ruck sack and a dummy weapon during combat water survival training at Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif., July 17, 2015.

(Department of Defense Courtesy Photo)

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- No one knows when they might be put in a situation of rescuing a drowning victim.

A victim can drown in a matter of minutes, which means being prepared is the key. Unlike the movies, drowning victims don’t always thrash in the water, usually victims are quiet, which makes the situation more dangerous.

Here are some steps which outline how to rescue a drowning victim.

• Determine whether the person is drowning. Does their head go from being submerged to briefly coming out before going under again?

• Shout for help. Yell to others that someone is drowning.

• Decide which rescue method to use. Is the victim close enough for you to grab or do you need to reach someone beyond your range of reaching? If so, you could use a poll or shepherd’s hook or throw a ring buoy. Diving into the water and swimming to the victim should be a last resort.

• Proceed with rescue. Stay calm and focused. Panicking can cause mistakes and stress out the victim.

• Call 911. Once the victim is out of the water perform basic first-aid. If the victim is not breathing begin CPR.

Drowning can happen anytime, anywhere. Would you know what to do if put into a situation where someone is drowning? Being a prepared bystander that reacts quickly could be the difference between life and death for the victim.