'Drowning doesn't look like drowning' Vital information for everyone

blacbloc

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Just saw this posted by @tnteachertim on twitter - should be required reading for everyone in the country.

Full article:

Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning

The new captain jumped from the cockpit, fully dressed, and sprinted through the water. A former lifeguard, he kept his eyes on his victim as he headed straight for the owners who were swimming between their anchored sportfisher and the beach. “I think he thinks you’re drowning,” the husband said to his wife. They had been splashing each other and she had screamed but now they were just standing, neck-deep on the sand bar. “We’re fine, what is he doing?” she asked, a little annoyed. “We’re fine!” the husband yelled, waving him off, but his captain kept swimming hard. ”Move!” he barked as he sprinted between the stunned owners. Directly behind them, not ten feet away, their nine-year-old daughter was drowning. Safely above the surface in the arms of the captain, she burst into tears, “Daddy!”
 


blacbloc

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What?!? The article does not say that people don't scream for help but that it is not what happens in lots/most cases. And how many experiences can one person have of happening to be there when others are drowing? Maybe as many as, say, five? Even that would be an awful lot. It's a bit foolish - and irresponsible - to dismiss this item, no?
 
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He3

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That is a very useful link blacbloc. I know that from personal experience. Everyone should be aware of this:

"The Instinctive Drowning Response – so named by Francesco A. Pia, Ph.D., is what people do to avoid actual or perceived suffocation in the water. And it does not look like most people expect. There is very little splashing, no waving, and no yelling or calls for help of any kind. To get an idea of just how quiet and undramatic from the surface drowning can be, consider this: It is the number two cause of accidental death in children, age 15 and under (just behind vehicle accidents) – of the approximately 750 children who will drown next year, about 375 of them will do so within 25 yards of a parent or other adult. In ten percent of those drownings, the adult will actually watch them do it, having no idea it is happening (source: CDC). Drowning does not look like drowning – Dr. Pia, in an article in the Coast Guard’s On Scene Magazine, described the instinctive drowning response like this:
1.Except in rare circumstances, drowning people are physiologically unable to call out for help. Th e respiratory system was designed for breathing. Speech is the secondary or overlaid function. Breathing must be fulfilled, before speech occurs.
2.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.
3.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.
4.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.
5.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)"
 

Mar Tweedy

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Very scary and good to know thanks as I head off shortly planning to do some water sports with the family.
 

myksav

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Thanks blacbloc. Kayakers and sailors have been talking about this for quite some time now.

I forgot to post anything on it because I was too aware of the problem and thought it was common knowledge. :oops:
 

rockofcashel

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That is a very useful link blacbloc. I know that from personal experience. Everyone should be aware of this:

"The Instinctive Drowning Response – so named by Francesco A. Pia, Ph.D., is what people do to avoid actual or perceived suffocation in the water. And it does not look like most people expect. There is very little splashing, no waving, and no yelling or calls for help of any kind. To get an idea of just how quiet and undramatic from the surface drowning can be, consider this: It is the number two cause of accidental death in children, age 15 and under (just behind vehicle accidents) – of the approximately 750 children who will drown next year, about 375 of them will do so within 25 yards of a parent or other adult. In ten percent of those drownings, the adult will actually watch them do it, having no idea it is happening (source: CDC). Drowning does not look like drowning – Dr. Pia, in an article in the Coast Guard’s On Scene Magazine, described the instinctive drowning response like this:
1.Except in rare circumstances, drowning people are physiologically unable to call out for help. Th e respiratory system was designed for breathing. Speech is the secondary or overlaid function. Breathing must be fulfilled, before speech occurs.
2.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.
3.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.
4.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.
5.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)"
That is very scary indeed and I'd say pretty much on the button... I had a close shave myself in Salou a few years when I went out a little too far in the intention of "wave swimming" back in, but found I was being slowly pulled out more and more by the back wave... I was lucky enough not to panic completely, and was able to get my bearings regarding how far the beach was and how far other swimmers were if I needed to call out ... problem is.. from what that article says.. I wouldn't have been able to call out

All in all, scary day
 

MauriceColgan

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What?!? The article does not say that people don't scream for help but that it is not what happens in lots/most cases. And how many people can one person have of happening to be there when others are drowing? Maybe as many as, say, five? Even that would be an awful lot. It's a bit foolish - and irresponsible - to dismiss this item, no?
No.

Many studies lose sight of common sense. Most people panic when drowning and automatically resort to screaming and thrashing about.

I grew up beside the grand canal, swam in many popular lakes with hundreds of others, and witnessed a few drownings at the seaside. and saw and experienced quite a few near tragedies too.

Yes a few WILL just slip silently beneath the water but the old saying a drowning man will cling at a straw remains true.
 

firefly123

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Ive been to a few calls on the canals where a group of lads would be mucking about and suddenly one of them would be gone. Not even in the locks but on the main stretches and yet they just disappear under the water. By the time others spot it they are drowned. If they are lucky then CPR might help get them back.
It happens a lot more quickly than people think. Literally one minute there the next gone.
 

Didimus

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No.

Many studies lose sight of common sense. Most people panic when drowning and automatically resort to screaming and thrashing about.

I grew up beside the grand canal, swam in many popular lakes with hundreds of others, and witnessed a few drownings at the seaside. and saw and experienced quite a few near tragedies too.

Yes a few WILL just slip silently beneath the water but the old saying a drowning man will cling at a straw remains true.
The article distinguishes between aquatic distress and the process of actual drowning.
The first may lead to the later, but the article suggests that in many cases people drown without going through the shouting and roaring bit.
Seems like a useful piece of advice, and explains perhaps how people can die in a swimming pool with a lifeguard on duty.
 

MauriceColgan

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Lifeguards at the coast would be rather obsolete if they didn't spot people in obvious distress.

Human bodies falling or jumping into canals make quite a loud splash.

I know all about nearly drowning in a municipal swimming pool with a life guard sat not hearing my screams for help or thrashing.

Same happened with my daughter a very strong swimmer who got cramp and could not attract help from the life guard at a lake swim for charity.

The stories of drownings and near drownings I have heard cover my lifetime.

As boy we were told by teachers to try and knock out a potential victim of drowning. Ha ha.

Now we are told to wait till the person drowning exhausts him/herself before attempting to help them.

That must be fun. Paddling water as the poor and unfortunate human being is fighting for it's life seeing you floating along, paring your nails and yawning.
 

MauriceColgan

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I think you're being an idiot. Show some cop on, please.
Please explain why.

I write from a lot of experience in life and from listening to countless stories from other people about their experiences of tragedies.

An 11 year old classmate and pal drowned in the river Irwell in Salford lancs so my grasp of the seriousness of the topic is not to be underestimated.
 

rhonda15

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remember almost drowning once ... must've been about 9 ... I remember the incredibly scary feeling of not being able to cry out while surrounded by people not taking any notice of me and thinking nothing is wrong and going down down down a little further each time and not being able to make a sound

it can happen very quickly folks
 

MauriceColgan

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remember almost drowning once ... must've been about 9 ... I remember the incredibly scary feeling of not being able to cry out while surrounded by people not taking any notice of me and thinking nothing is wrong and going down down down a little further each time and not being able to make a sound

it can happen very quickly folks
"Down down down" Then what happened?

I had a simliar experience in the grand canal at a younger age.. seven.

Saw children wading and thought I could too, but the sudden increase in depth caught me by surprise and I headed for the bank pronto! Nobody noticed my panic.
 

rhonda15

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"Down down down" Then what happened?

I had a simliar experience in the grand canal at a younger age.. seven.

Saw children wading and thought I could too, but the sudden increase in depth caught me by surprise and I headed for the bank pronto! Nobody noticed my panic.
if I remember correctly I think I latched onto somebody/something in the nick of time and spluttered my way out of drowning
 

MauriceColgan

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if I remember correctly I think I latched onto somebody/something in the nick of time and spluttered my way out of drowning
Important thing is you survived to tell the tale.

Being an avid and regular swimmer as a boy and man I have had quite a few near tragic adventures that were not at all funny at the time.
 

blacbloc

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My family have been sea-farers for generations - we've lost people to the sea down the years and I've spent a lot of time sailing in my spare time too. My grandfather who was the owner and captain of three ships used always to say that people do not understand nearly enough nor are respectful enough about the dangers of water. His wife, my grandmother, lost a 19 year old sister on her own 13th birthday having been taken out for the day and sadly running into bad weather unexpectedly. Personally, I was sailing in a tiny dinghy with someone who had asthma - we capsized and even though he was just a few feet away from me, I didn't realise until I saw his facial colour turn grey/almost blue that he was in any difficulty at all. He couldn't speak a word. I was getting on with the capsize drill and trying to keep out the way of the other boats in the race. Fortunately he was able to hang onto the boat and I was able to right it myself and help him climb in. Had I been round the other side of the boat, which would have been the usual drill, I might not have spotted his difficulty. That's why this article rang so true and I posted it here. Turns out that sort of experience is not unusual at all.
 
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He3

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my family have been sea-farers for generations - we've lost people to the sea down the years and i've spent a lot of time sailing in my spare time too. My grandfather who was the owner and captain of three ships used always to say that people do not understand nearly enough nor are respectful enough about the dangers of water. His wife, my grandmother lost, a 19 year old sister on her own 13th birthday having been taken out for the day and sadly running into bad weather unexpectedly. Personally, i was sailing in a tiny dinghy with someone who had asthma - we capsized and even though he was just a few feet away from me, i dint realise until i saw his facial colour turn grey/almost blue that he was in any difficulty at all. He couldnt speak a word. I was getting on with the normal capsize drill and trying to keep out the way of the other boats in the race. Fortunately he was able to hang onto the boat and i was able to right it myself and help him climb in. Had i been round the other side of the boat, which would have been the usual drill, i might not have spotted his difficulty. That's why this article rang so true and i posted it here. Turns out that sort of experience is not unusual at all.
qed
 

j2mey

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I've printed this article out to show people as it is really important.

Also please remember that if someone is not breathing - unless they get CPR, they will be BRAIN DEAD in 10 minutes (brain damage is irreversible and begins about 4 minutes after person stops breathing unless CPR is started and continued until ambulance... arrives).
If you don't know CPR take a class - it could be your own child, wife, brother...
At least watch the new t.v. advert about compressions - CCC
 


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