Self Preservation is the key in any rescue
Every year, approximately five people lose their lives while attempting to rescue someone in trouble. While it may seem counter-intuitive, your own personal safety should remain paramount in any rescue situation.
People in difficulty are often in a state of panic and could easily drag you underwater in their attempt to stay afloat.
The reason why the person is in trouble, also needs to be considered. If they are in a rip, strong current, fast flowing river or floodwater; if there is debris or if the water temperature is cold, then you may very easily get into trouble yourself by entering the water, making you ineffective in the rescue and compounding the situation.
Always assess the situation first to determine the most appropriate form of rescue. There are often a number of ways to assist the person in trouble before needing to perform an in-water rescue.
Can you talk to the person, calming them down and directing them to a safer location? Is there something on hand that you could use to reach the person, such as a rope, stick, or towel? Is there something you could throw to the person to aid their buoyancy, such as a life jacket, kickboard, or esky (cooler) lid?
Royal Life Saving encourages people who find themselves in a rescue situation to follow the 4 A’s of rescue:
- Awareness: recognise an emergency and accept responsibility
- Assessment: make an informed judgement
- Action: develop a plan and affect the rescue
- Aftercare: give aid until medical help arrives
Depending on your age, you can participate in Swim and Survive and/or Bronze or Grey Medallion educational programs to learn more about rescue safety.