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Tue May 15, 2018, 09:47 PM

Drowning Doesn't Look Like Drowning --- important read going into summertime

Drowning does not look like drowning. Dr. Pia, in an article he wrote for the Coast Guard’s On Scene magazine, described the Instinctive Drowning Response like this:

Except in rare circumstances, drowning people are physiologically unable to call out for help. The respiratory system was designed for breathing. Speech is a secondary or overlaid function. Breathing must be fulfilled before speech occurs.

Drowning people’s mouths alternately sink below and reappear above the surface of the water. The mouths of drowning people are not above the surface of the water long enough for them to exhale, inhale and call out for help. When the drowning people’s mouths are above the surface, they exhale and inhale quickly as their mouths start to sink below the surface of the water.

Drowning people cannot wave for help. Nature instinctively forces them to extend their arms laterally and press down on the water’s surface. Pressing down on the surface of the water permits drowning people to leverage their bodies so they can lift their mouths out of the water to breathe.

Throughout the Instinctive Drowning Response, drowning people cannot voluntarily control their arm movements. Physiologically, drowning people who are struggling on the surface of the water cannot stop drowning and perform voluntary movements such as waving for help, moving toward a rescuer or reaching out for a piece of rescue equipment.

From beginning to end of the Instinctive Drowning Response, people’s bodies remain upright in the water, with no evidence of a supporting kick. Unless rescued by a trained lifeguard, these drowning people can only struggle on the surface of the water from 20 to 60 seconds before submersion occurs. (Source: On Scene magazine: Fall 2006 page 14)

This doesn’t mean that a person who is yelling for help and thrashing isn’t in real trouble — they are experiencing aquatic distress. Not always present before the instinctive drowning response, aquatic distress doesn’t last long, but unlike true drowning, these victims can still assist in their own rescue. They can grab lifelines, reach for throw rings, etc.

Look for these other signs of drowning when persons are in the water:

Head low in the water, mouth at water level
Head tilted back with mouth open
Eyes glassy and empty, unable to focus
Eyes closed
Hair over forehead or eyes
Not using legs
Hyperventilating or gasping
Trying to swim in a particular direction but not making headway
Trying to roll over onto the back
Appears to be climbing an invisible ladder
So, if a crewmember falls overboard and everything looks okay, don’t be too sure. Sometimes the most common indication that someone is drowning is that they don’t look as if they’re drowning. They may just look as if they are treading water and looking up at the deck. One way to be sure? Ask them, “Are you alright?” If they can answer at all, they probably are. If they return a blank stare, you may have less than 30 seconds to get to them. And parents — children playing in the water make noise. When they get quiet, you need to get to them and find out why.

Learn More Myths About Drowning.


https://www.soundingsonline.com/voices/drowning-doesnt-look-like-drowning

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Reply Drowning Doesn't Look Like Drowning --- important read going into summertime (Original post)
underpants May 2018 OP
Solly Mack May 2018 #1
CaliforniaPeggy May 2018 #2
underpants May 2018 #20
GP6971 May 2018 #3
underpants May 2018 #7
GP6971 May 2018 #8
dixiegrrrrl May 2018 #4
underpants May 2018 #6
GP6971 May 2018 #9
underpants May 2018 #12
pazzyanne May 2018 #5
calimary May 2018 #10
Glamrock May 2018 #11
LineLineReply !
underpants May 2018 #13
PoindexterOglethorpe May 2018 #14
appalachiablue May 2018 #15
underpants May 2018 #21
BobTheSubgenius May 2018 #16
chowder66 May 2018 #17
Mr.Bill May 2018 #18
LineLineReply 6
underpants May 2018 #19
JI7 May 2018 #22
Uncle Joe May 2018 #23
underpants May 2018 #24
treestar May 2018 #25
geardaddy May 2018 #26
Uncle Joe May 2018 #27
underpants May 2018 #28
Uncle Joe May 2018 #29
mahatmakanejeeves Jun 2018 #30

Response to underpants (Original post)

Tue May 15, 2018, 09:53 PM

1. K&R

A really good need to know.

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Response to underpants (Original post)

Tue May 15, 2018, 10:01 PM

2. Glad you posted this! VERY important information. n/t

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Response to CaliforniaPeggy (Reply #2)

Wed May 16, 2018, 10:12 AM

20. It was news to me

Stumbled upon it on Facebook

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Response to underpants (Original post)

Tue May 15, 2018, 10:08 PM

3. I can vouch

for your post. Long ago I was a lifeguard for 5 summers at a lake and sometimes at the ocean. We were always instructed to be proactive...if you thought someone was in trouble you went in.

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Response to GP6971 (Reply #3)

Tue May 15, 2018, 10:59 PM

7. Do me a favor and check out post #6. Do you agree?

I'd like your experienced opinion. I didn't want to post it twice in the same thread.

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Response to underpants (Reply #7)

Tue May 15, 2018, 11:00 PM

8. I'll check it out now. n/t

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Response to underpants (Original post)

Tue May 15, 2018, 10:51 PM

4. Excellent Vital post!


K&R

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #4)

Tue May 15, 2018, 10:57 PM

6. From the same author - More Myths About Drowning

https://www.soundingsonline.com/voices/more-myths-about-drowning

Reach, Throw, Row, Don’t Go (Unless You Are Trained): Maybe, Maybe Not

“A person who is drowning will climb on top of you and drown you if you get near them,” says someone every time the issue of rescuing a drowning person is brought up. Yeah - sort of, but not really.

It has happened, and though I’m not discounting the danger of an untrained person performing a rescue, treating every non-lifeguard in the world as someone who will die if he tries to rescue a four-year-old is absurd.

People in aquatic distress or people who are actively drowning are both looking for the same thing — what I call free freeboard. They want their mouths above the water without effort. They want to be standing up or supported by some kind of flotation. Once they feel supported, they no longer pose any danger if you can keep them feeling that way. What lifeguards are trained to do is to enter the water and support drowning victims so that they can easily breathe and are strong enough to get them to safety.

Reaching for someone who is drowning from a secure position is better than throwing something at him. And throwing him flotation is better than wasting time getting to him by boat. But here is the hard truth: if reaching, throwing, or rowing isn’t an option and someone doesn’t go get him, he is going to drown. If you call 911 (or Mayday) and do nothing else, you are calling for a body recovery. And since most of you are not going to be able to stand there and do nothing, here is how you can safely “go” — yes, even though you are untrained: bring flotation with you.

If there is no one else around and you are not a lifeguard, but you have a lifejacket on and can grab another, you have enough flotation to give both you and a victim freeboard to breathe and stop the drowning. So long as you are a good swimmer and are in decent shape, you can go help.

There are far too many “what ifs” to tell you how to handle every possible drowning scenario, but you should not feel completely helpless just because you are not a rescue professional. Yes — there is danger in attempting a rescue (for the trained and untrained alike) but standing on the beach or boat or pool edge during a drowning and hoping someone else gets there in time just isn’t a strategy.

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Response to underpants (Reply #6)

Tue May 15, 2018, 11:13 PM

9. Some aspects of that link are true...EXCEPT

“A person who is drowning will climb on top of you and drown you if you get near them,” says someone every time the issue of rescuing a drowning person is brought up. Yeah - sort of, but not really.

Not true. Lifeguards are taught to approach a victim from below and behind so the victim can't use their flailing arms to crawl all over you to get air. It happened to me a couple of times. We always had back up...2 guards were always on the scene...the first guard and then very shortly after a 2nd guard. I actually had to punch a guy in the face one time which doesn't mean much because in the water a punch has nothing behind it. It can do the trick though to calm them down a bit.

Our secret if a victim got a hold on you...baby oil. All the guards spread it on liberally. We literally left an oil slick when we dove in.

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Response to GP6971 (Reply #9)

Tue May 15, 2018, 11:24 PM

12. Okay thanks

From behind makes sense. The baby oil is funny.

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Response to underpants (Original post)

Tue May 15, 2018, 10:56 PM

5. K & R

Excellent information, most of which I have not heard before. Thank you for sharing, underpants.

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Response to underpants (Original post)

Tue May 15, 2018, 11:20 PM

10. Thanks so much for this!

Excellent info to have.

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Response to underpants (Original post)

Tue May 15, 2018, 11:22 PM

11. Well that was uplifting!

All kidding aside, thanks. I live 15 minutes from the beach. Good info to have. Here's to never needing it....

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Response to Glamrock (Reply #11)

Tue May 15, 2018, 11:25 PM

13. !

Senoost 6 too. Bring floatation with you if you have to go in.

15 minutes? Lucky you.

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Response to underpants (Original post)

Tue May 15, 2018, 11:50 PM

14. Thank you for this post.

It helps me understand how someone can drown in a municipal pool with multiple lifeguards.

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Response to underpants (Original post)

Tue May 15, 2018, 11:51 PM

15. K & R. Appreciate this vital info., much is news to me..

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Response to appalachiablue (Reply #15)

Wed May 16, 2018, 02:54 PM

21. It was news to me too

Don't miss another article by him in post#6

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Response to underpants (Original post)

Wed May 16, 2018, 12:03 AM

16. One thing this doesn't mention - drowning people can be very dangerous.

On instinct, they will sometimes do ANYTHING to try to keep from drowning, including attempting to climb their rescuer, possibly drowning both people.

We were taught that you MUST save yourself first. If you (the rescuer) goes under, you can't help the drowning person. We were also taught, that if they manage to get their hands on you, which you can't always keep from happening, if you have to, grab a pinkie finger and break it.

Better a broken finger then one or both of you dead.

Also, towing a person is no mean feat. In a pool, my maximum distance towing a body was less than a kilometer..

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Response to BobTheSubgenius (Reply #16)

Wed May 16, 2018, 12:29 AM

17. I can attest to this. I was drowning

in a community pool when I was about 10 or 11. I kept touching the bottom and pushing up and I couldn't see my friends at first but I spotted one and she thought I was playing around and swam across to the other side.
Lucky for me an older girl figured it out and when she came to help me I pushed her down, and luckily she was a strong swimmer who managed to get me to the ledge but for a few or more seconds it was harrowing for both of us.

I learned to float after that. Never could really get the hang of swimming, probably because that was my second time nearly drowning.

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Response to BobTheSubgenius (Reply #16)

Wed May 16, 2018, 12:49 AM

18. This thread brings back my Boy Scout lifesaving training.

Jumping in the water and approaching a drowning, flailing person is extremely dangerous, and all other options should be considered first. The rule I was taught was Row, Tow, Throw, Go.

Row - Is there a boat available that can reach the drowning person quickly enough. Often this can be the case around docks at a marina.
Tow - Is there a line or a pole that can be thrown to or reach the person. This is often the case in a swimming pool situation. There are usually long handled pool cleaning tools available or a piece of rope.
These items are also usually available on a boat where someone has fallen overboard.
Throw - Can you throw the person anything that floats. The obvious thing is a life preserver, but an ice chest or cooler can be dumped and the lid latched closed to make a good floatation device. The spare tire in the trunk of your car will also float. Also inflatable pool toys.
Go - If none of the above options are available, go in the water yourself as a last resort.

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Response to BobTheSubgenius (Reply #16)

Wed May 16, 2018, 05:40 AM

19. 6

Not arguing but the author addresses this in the next article Myths About Drowning

See post #6 please

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Response to underpants (Original post)

Thu May 17, 2018, 05:43 AM

22. this is probably why in many drowning cases

the people who were there say they thought the person was joking. because it is so calm and quiet and not what we usually see in the movies. and by the time they start to worry and do something it's too late.

this should be something taught to everyone in school. it could easily save lives, especially of little kids.

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Response to underpants (Original post)

Thu May 17, 2018, 08:05 AM

23. Kicked and recommended.

Thanks for the thread underpants

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Response to Uncle Joe (Reply #23)

Thu May 17, 2018, 08:43 AM

24. You're welcome

Ran into it on Facebook of all places. Post#6 has another short piece by the same author - if you have to go in, take floatation with you.

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Response to underpants (Original post)

Sat May 19, 2018, 08:38 AM

25. K&R drowning as depicted in movies

is not the real thing.

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Response to underpants (Original post)

Wed May 30, 2018, 10:27 AM

26. K&R

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Response to underpants (Original post)

Wed May 30, 2018, 01:30 PM

27. Kicked and recommended.

Thanks for the thread underpants

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Response to Uncle Joe (Reply #27)

Wed May 30, 2018, 02:46 PM

28. You're welcome

Just trying to get the info out there. This was new to me when I found this article on Facebook.

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Response to underpants (Reply #28)

Wed May 30, 2018, 03:00 PM

29. My grandfather's brother drowned in the 1920s when he was a teenager

My grandfather and his friends thought he was just horse playing around.

So this message is close to home with me.

Peace to you

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Response to underpants (Original post)

Fri Jun 22, 2018, 12:25 PM

30. Local real estate broker drowns in Atlantic Beach, N.C., while trying to assist swimmer in distress

It's time to kick this thread back to the top.

Local real estate broker drowns in Atlantic Beach, N.C., while trying to assist swimmer in distress

By MARK BOWES Richmond Times-Dispatch Jun 19, 2018

A Richmond real estate broker drowned Friday while vacationing with his family in Atlantic Beach, N.C., as he apparently tried to assist a swimmer in distress, Atlantic Beach authorities said.

Charles Austin Joy, 47, a commercial real estate broker with Spotts and Carneal Inc. since 1995, died after going into cardiac arrest, said Chief Adam Snyder of Atlantic Beach Fire and Rescue. Joy lived in Beaverdam.

“Apparently [Joy] saw someone that was in trouble out in the water, and attempted to, at least by what we were told, to swim out there to assist them, and ended up drowning himself,” Snyder said.

Snyder said Joy was with his family, but he did not know whether the person Joy was attempting to assist was a family member.
....

mbowes@timesdispatch.com

(804) 649-6450

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