Drowning accounts for a large percentage of deaths each year all over the world. Many people living on the islands do not know how to swim so drowning incidents are high.
Fortunately, there are qualified lifeguards, swimming instructors, and others who are trained in lifesaving techniques. There are also swimmers untrained in this area who have risked their lives to save others.
Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation has prevented many individuals from experiencing an untimely death.
What is Mouth-to-Mouth Resuscitation?
This is a universally accepted technique used in cases of drowning, choking, and other instances where someone has stopped breathing. Usually, the person will still have a heartbeat.
The rescuer blows air into the victims’ lungs by sealing his mouth over theirs. This is referred to as insufflation, ventilations, or rescue breaths.
It is generally used in conjunction with heart compressions during cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to restart breathing.
Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation is a method I have used successfully for over 30 years as a lifesaver.
There are different variations to delivering “rescue breaths”…
- Mouth-to-mouth and nose: This forms a better seal when working on infants up to 1 year old.
- Mouth-to-nose: Sometimes there is vomit in the mouth or injuries preventing mouth-to-mouth. This is also an easier method when working on the person while still in the water.
- Mouth-to-mask: This method is more common today than before. A mask serves as a barrier between the rescuer and victim. A one-way valve allows air from the rescuer to the victim but not substances from the victim’s mouth to the rescuer.
From a Lifeguard Stand: A Bird’s Eye View
I worked as a lifeguard for over 20 years. Whether or not I’m on the stand, I’m constantly scanning the entire beach looking for someone in need of help.
The elevated view from the stand has an advantage … a bird’s eye view. It’s easier to see movements right below me and far out at sea. I wear sunshades to protect my eyes and to prevent the sun from obscuring my vision.
Speed in getting to the victim makes a great difference. This includes running as well as swimming. Practice makes perfect. These skills are not automatic. Ongoing training, practice, and annual examination are critical to my rate of success.
Ready, Set, Go … No Time to Waste
As soon as I see someone showing signs of uncertainty or fatigue, I’m ready to move. I observe people’s behavior closely.
Children are not always monitored. Sometimes non swimmers venture out too far or lose their balance. At times, they are pushed in by idle friends. Drunks and others under the influence of some kind have turned up for a swim.
These are all vulnerable individuals I pay special attention to. My eyes are on everyone.
There is limited time in which to get to a victim before they swallow too much water and end up in greater danger. Water gets into the lungs, they stop breathing, and within minutes the heart stops. This leads to complications and may be fatal.
In the Nick of Time, Another Life is Saved!
A drowning person is terrified. They can’t keep afloat, they swallow water, and they’re not sure if they will be rescued in time. One of the most important thing I do is prevent them from grabbing on to me. They could easily bring me down if I allow that.
My task is to hold them in a way that the head is back with the mouth and nose above water. This way they have no control over me and can now relax. I get them to shore as quickly and safely as possible.
It is important to lay them on the sand and continue with the procedures. I ask them questions and reassure them, confirming that they are no longer in danger. When necessary, I request medical help for them.
I have never lost a life in all these years. For this I’m thankful. It is a blessing to be able to make such a difference in people’s lives.
Eyesight to Hands On
Learning to swim is a beneficial and necessary skill for anyone to have. Lifesaving skills is an asset, which has been used to prevent many untimely deaths.
Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, including its variations, is performed independently in drowning incidents. It is also a part of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
My role as a lifeguard and swimming Instructor is to save lives by teaching and rescuing. Children of any age, non swimmers in particular, and people under the influence of substances are especially vulnerable. They should be monitored closely.
If you find yourself in a position where there is no professional lifesaver, you may not have time to think through your actions. Remember, it is critical to always be in control.
It is important to get to a victim immediately to prevent further complications or death. Hold the person being rescued in a way that prevents them from grabbing you and pulling you under.
Get them out safely, lay them down, ask questions, reassure them, and seek medical help where necessary.
Best of all, pursue some kind of training to equip yourself to help others. Also, become a stronger swimmer by taking time to practice regularly.
This article has been compiled on behalf of Hector Campbell. I hope it has benefited you in some way. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. I will be more than happy to address them.