Every year, there is always a significant number of people who drown in the water. There are also tragic instances when one drowns trying to rescue others. However, the truth is that there will be far lesser of such situations if more individuals are aware of the Four Rs of bystander rescue. The Four Rs include Recognise, Respond, Rescue and Revive.

Since 1980 up till last year, a total of 81 individuals drowned while trying to help others. Out of all these individuals, most of them (80 per cent) were male and Maori (33 per cent) and Pasifika (12 per cent) people were over-represented. All the incidents took place in open waters, with beaches (54 per cent) and rivers (22 per cent) making up the most frequent sites of drowning.

Just last month, a man and his nephew drowned off the coast of Hawkes Bay while they were trying to rescue a young girl who had made her own way to shore. What was meant to be a weekend of family celebrations turned into a tragic incident. The truth is that such incidents will continue to occur unless people start learning the proper way of rescuing people in distress. While many rescue attempts seem to appear instinctive, it can actually add to the risk of drowning fatality list, especially for individuals who have no formal training in lifesaving techniques.

A group of drowning prevention experts with extensive lifeguard experience from Watersafe Auckland have come together to formulate simple guidelines in order to minimise such risk. The first thing to do is to Recognise: a would-be rescuer need to assess the victim’s distress, urgency and dangers involved in a rescue attempt as well as look for a flotation device.

The second step would be to Respond: the first priority to prevent the drowning would be by providing the flotation device to the victim. In the meantime, one should continue to assess the dangers of a rescue and the urgency. It is important to note if the victim cannot be immediately removed from the water. It is also during this stage that the bystander should send for help.

The third step is the actual Rescue: a land- or craft-based rescue would significantly minimise the risk for the rescuer. However, if a water-based rescue is required, then the safest method would be using a non-contact rescue flotation.

The last step is Revive (only performed if required): this phase covers the possible need for CPR along with other medical assistance as required. For the full story, you can read it here.

If you are looking for a lifesaving course in Singapore, you will be happy to know that Happy Fish Swim School offers it. This course focus on the necessary and important techniques and methods needed when saving someone from drowning.