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What is drowning?

“Death caused by asphyxia following immersion in water”

Effects of Drowning

If very small quantities of water enter the lungs:

  • Water does not initially interfere with transfer of oxygen – no visible signs
  • Water irritates lungs which fill with body fluids
  • Form of pneumonia which is often fatal
  • Casualty at risk for up to 72 hours
Can you name 3 things which someone can drown in

Bath, River, Paddling Pool, Swimming Pool, Pond, Lake, Waterfall etc

If I am in danger should I enter the water to rescue my friend?

No. Your safety is vital. We may end up with 2 casualties. Use a stick, throw them something or get somebody who is trained to enter the water.

Should you call 999 or 112 for someone drowning

Yes, straight away as soon as you recognise someone is in trouble. Timing is vital and we need the Emergency Services to assist as soon as possible.


Any access to water

Swimming Pool











  • Motionless in water
  • Sinking in the water
  • Face down in water
  • Submerged
  • Laid in water covering the mouth and nose
Lifeguard swimming towards the victim


  • Call 999 / 112 for an ambulance and get a defibrillator
  • Lift the casualty’s head clear of the water to make sure his airway is open
  • If the casualty remains submerged, he will start to swallow water. Because of a lack of oxygen, he will become unconscious and stop attempting to breathe
  • Get them out the water and onto a hard surface – check breathing. If breathing recovery position.
  • If not breathing normally due to the shortage of oxygen it is more important to give rescue breaths first, therefore commence CPR with 5 initial rescue breaths
  • Do CPR – 5 Rescue Breaths, 30 Chest Compressions, 2 Rescue Breaths then 30:2 ongoing

This guidance is great but no substitute for a practical First Aid course.

We teach Drowning on the following courses.

NDA Shallow Water

RLSS National Pool Lifeguard Qualification

RLSS Emergency Pool Response

RLSS National Rescue Test for Teachers


To book any course NDA First Aid Training Ltd offer simply click here

You can also contact us in the following ways:

Telephone: 01494 958547