First Aid for someone that has drowned

by Chris Kameen on July 21, 2013

I don’t know about you but I have been left a bit confused by the recent changes in the management of giving someone CPR. Last week at the RYA Yachting Australia instructor conference Dr Natalie Hood  Surf Life Saving Australia Medical Advisor and key member of the Australian Resuscitation Council (ARC) gave a talk on dealing with drowning which I’m really pleased I attended.

All instructors and commercial skippers need to have a First Aid qualification renewed every two years, and so over the last 30 years or so it is fair to say I have done quite a few first aid courses! What I have realised is that during that time I have probably only done two courses that have been delivered focusing on people who will be operating at sea. The latest shift away from giving rescue breaths as portrayed in the Vinnie Jones video also didn’t quite sit right with me..

I’m no medical expert but if someone has drowned and they’ve stopped breathing then surely we need to get some air into them and pump their heart. The key to this message though is getting help quickly and calling 000 (or 999 in the UK as in the video) , but when we are recovering someone into a rescue boat it is going to be a little while before professional help is on scene. That Surf Life Saving Australia still teach the 30 compressions 2 breaths technique is important to know. For more information and to view the guidelines  of this please follow this link: Changes to CPR SLS Circular 62/2010-2011.

Listening to experts like Dr Natalie Hood is one of the real benefits of attending conferences like this and again a big thank-you to Martin Silk and Sonia Robinson of Yachting Australia for having the foresight to get someone like this in to speak.

Sydney Sailing School is organising a first aid course to be run in August by First Aid Plus, all rescue boat handlers and instructors are expected to have a first aid qualification and for this one I have specifically asked that it be tailored to the environment in which we operate. Course dates: 12th, 13th, 20th August afterwork

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