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What we are going to do now is look at what to do if you find someone who you suspect has drowned. This person is unresponsive and not breathing. Safety is the first concern, so do not put yourself or others at risk.

We start this scenario at the point where the victim of drowning are on their back, as there are other courses on water rescue. Water can be very cold even on a hot day. There may be obstructions under the water, soft beds or strong currents. When someone is being pulled out of the water, if they are not breathing, this is going to be different from somebody in an office situation who is not breathing. This is because in an office situation when they are not breathing, it is most likely a result of a cardiac problem, where if someone has drowned, it is more likely they have stopped breathing because of a respiratory problem.

Treatment for a patient who has drowned and no breathing is slightly different from standard CPR. If someone else is there, send them to call the EMS; if not, continue care. First, open the airway and check for breathing for 10 seconds. If you cannot detect breathing, deliver five rescue breaths first, then 30 compressions and two breaths for one minute. If you are alone, at this point you would leave and go to call for help. This is called the call fast approach.

Continue CPR with 30 compressions and two breaths until the EMS arrive and tell you to stop or to help them. The reason we deliver five breaths first is that we are trying to start them breathing again first and then we move on to CPR if they do not show signs of any life. It may be this person has just stopped breathing and they may have a weak pulse at this time, so the five breaths may start their breathing again. Finally, it is worth noting that the sequence for drowning is the same as that for children from age 1 to 18.