Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Know the signs: Here’s how to spot when someone may be drowning (VIDEO)

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Understanding the signs of drowning can be critical in preventing tragic accidents in British Columbia’s waters.

With the World Health Organization and United Nations recognizing July 25th as World Drowning Prevention Day, it is essential to raise awareness about this public health issue.

“Today, on World Drowning Prevention Day, I would like to remind everyone to take extra measures to stay safe in and around water,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health.

“Sadly, about 500 Canadians drown in preventable water-related incidents every year, and drowning is the most common cause of unintentional death among children aged one to four.

“Almost half of all child drownings in Canada occur in backyard swimming pools; however, children can drown in as little as 2.5 centimetres of water in a matter of seconds. Drowning is fast, silent and devastating, but we can all take steps to prevent it.”

A recent report from the BC Coroners Service revealed that accidental drownings on Vancouver Island have increased, with 18 fatalities last year, three more than the ten-year average of 15.

Disturbingly, 82 per cent of drownings in this area were males.

The leading causes of drowning were associated with activities such as boating, swimming, and accidental falls into the water. Notably, weekends and the peak summer months of July and August were found to have a higher likelihood of drowning fatalities.

Medical health officer Dr. Murray Fyfe emphasizes that accidental drownings are preventable through responsible behavior and safety precautions. One crucial contributing factor in 38 per cent of drowning deaths is alcohol and substance use, while 65 per cent of boating incidents resulting in death involved alcohol.

To enhance safety while enjoying the waters, Dr. Fyfe recommends implementing multiple layers of protection. Learning how to swim, wearing life jackets near and on water, installing proper fencing around backyard pools, and constant supervision of young children can significantly reduce the risk of drowning.

Understanding the instinctive drowning response coined by researcher Francesco A. Pia is also crucial.

Drowning is typically silent and quick, characterized by a lack of leg movement, an upright position, and the inability to talk or keep the mouth consistently above water.

People close to drowning cannot control their arm movements and will instinctively push down on the water, trying to stay above the surface to breathe.

It’s essential to recognize visible symptoms of drowning, such as a low head position in the water, glassy eyes, hyperventilation, and an inability to make headway while swimming.

However, it’s important to remember that someone who appears to be thrashing and yelling could still be in distress and require assistance.

By being aware of these signs and taking proactive safety measures, we can make BC waters safer for everyone.

Let us use World Drowning Prevention Day as a reminder that drowning is preventable, and each of us can play a role in ensuring water-related activities are enjoyed responsibly and safely.

These are some of the signs of drowning include:

  • Head low in the water, mouth at water level
  • Head tilted back with mouth open
  • Eyes glassy and empty, unable to focus
  • Eyes open, with fear evident on the face
  • Hyperventilating or gasping
  • Trying to swim in a particular direction but not making headway
  • Trying to roll over on the back to float

This video demonstration shows examples to watch for:

The following video shows a real life rescue of a person drowning:

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Victoria Buzz Staffhttps://www.victoriabuzz.com
Your inside source for Greater Victoria happenings. Established in 2012.

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