Tag Archives: Basic Water Rescue

Caring for Hypothermia

Caring for Hypothermia

Sometimes, despite your best efforts to prevent hypothermia, symptoms can present themselves anyway, especially in small children.    Remember that hypothermia is a big deal – it’s a medical emergency that requires immediate attention by a medical professional.  Once you’ve identified hypothermia symptoms, call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number and follow these steps immediately.

  • Get out of the water and get to a warm place.
  • Remove wet clothing.
  • Gradually rewarm your body by wrapping yourself in blankets or putting on dry clothes.
  • Cover your head to prevent further heat loss.
    • Be careful not to rewarm yourself too quickly.  Rapid rewarming can cause dangerous heart rhythms.
  • Drink warm nonalcoholic and decaffeinated liquids.
  • If you’re caring for someone else and they are unconscious, monitor their breathing and pulse.  Be prepared to give rescue breathing or CPR.

For more, read Basic Water Rescue, a booklet published by the American Red Cross.

Identifying Hypothermia

Identifying Hypothermia

If you’ve been unable to prevent hypothermia, there are some telltale signs for identifying hypothermia.  Usually if a member of your group is complaining that they’re cold, be sure to check their temperature.  If their temperature is below 96° Some of the signs to look for are:

  • Confusion or sleepiness.
  • Slowed, slurred speech, or shallow breathing.
  • Weak pulse; low blood pressure.
  • A change in behavior during cold weather or a change in the way a person looks.
  • Excess shivering or no shivering; stiffness in the arms or legs.
  • Poor control over body movements or slow reactions.

For more, read Basic Water Rescue, a booklet published by the American Red Cross.

Being Prepared for an Aquatic Emergency

Being Prepared for an Aquatic Emergency

It;s important to be prepared for an aquatic emergency.  Being prepared means being ready before it happens.  To be prepared for an emergency, you must first understand the aquatic environment and review general water safety guidelines.  Always:

  • Be aware of the conditions and potential hazards of the water environment, whether it’s a pool, lake, river, ocean, or other body of water.  Know its unique conditions, as well as hazards common in your geographical area, such as storms, currents, and underwater obstructions.
  • Understand the various recreational activities that are common in your area and their hazards.  Consider the age and ability of participants in those activities.
  • Learn what kind of accidents and injuries have occurred in your water environment.  This knowledge will help you prevent further injuries and prepare for similar aquatic emergencies.

You also need to have the right equipment on hand in case of a water emergency.

  1. Appropriate rescue equipment for a water emergency, such as a ring buoy, throw bag, heaving line, or reaching pole.
  2. Appropriate life jackets for every person that is in, on, or around the water.
  3. A first aid kit.
  4. A means of communication (such as a phone, cellular phone, or two-way radio).
  5. An emergency signaling device, such as an air horn, whistle, strobe light, signal mirror, flare, or chemical light stick.
  6. Extra clothing, blankets, and rain gear.

For more, read Basic Water Rescue, a booklet published by the American Red Cross.