Thursday, January 6, 2011

Water Safety

Thanks to Chadel from Learning Adventures to share this with us.

Here's the scenario: You're nearby a waterfall and you see a man trying to gasp for air at the deep end of the pool. You can see that he is in a state of panic. What would your first reaction be?

There's are many ways of approaching this scenario. It all depends on the type of rescue skills that you have, your ability to swim well, and the equipment and resources at hand. Here's one of the safer approach:

Like the acronym DR ABC (Danger Response Airway Breathing Circulation), from your First Aid Course, start with “Danger”. Check the surroundings for dangers and hazards. Is the water level rising? Has the color of the river changed to a 'teh tarik' color? Are there signboards describing the nature of danger in the river? Are you and your friends safe?

After knowing that you and others are safe, you proceed to try and rescue the patient. But don't jump in just yet. Here's an acronym lifesavers and rescuers use:

RE THROG – which stands for REach THrow ROw Go

1.  REach for the patient. By lying down on your stomach to gain good stability on land, use an object like a stick, branch, cane, paddle, umbrella or even a wet towel and REach for the patient. If the patient is too far to REach,

REach for the patient

2.  THrow any object to the patient that can assist him/her to float, like a float, lifejacket, styrofoam box, or a rope (remember to hold one end of the rope!), and haul the patient back to shore. Make sure the patient can see what you are throwing towards them. If you have both items (float and rope), tie one end to the float and hold on to the other. THrow the float to the patient and have everyone haul the patient in with the rope. If you have no choice but to go in the water, use a boat to,

THrow a rope or buoyant object

3.  ROw to your patient. There may be a white water raft near by or a fishing boat. Use it. If you have rope, tie it to one end of the boat, so that after you have hauled the patient in the boat, others can haul you to shore fast. If there is no boat near by, and you are out of options, but you are a trained in lifesaving methods, then

ROw to the patient

4.  Go to the patient.

Go to the patient

The point to RE THROG is to make sure you utilise what is available around you first, before jumping in the water. Make going in the water, the last option as many things can happen once you are in.


  1. Know your limits (ability to rescue, ability to swim and resources available)

  2. Check the surroundings for dangers and hazards.

  3. After knowing you and others are safe, proceed with the rescue using RETHROG

  4. Take a First Aid & CPR course from an establish organisation.

  5. Know how to swim.

*All images are from:

Swimming & Lifesaving – The Royal Life Saving Society Australia