First Aid Emergency Measures
Because of the importance of safety and first aid, training is advised for people who spend a lot of time around the water. CPR and first aid courses are available and are recommended, especially for people who have children. The following guide doesn't do justice to the realm of possible accidents and injuries. Many conditions require immediate medical attention.
Injury Signs Treatment Sunburn Red, painful skin and chills. Fever and shock occasionally accompany severe sunburns. Apply cold water. Do not re-expose burned area to sun until completely healed. Broken Bones Pain, swelling, deformity, discoloration and possible bleeding. Keep broken bone ends and adjacent joints from moving. Control bleeding and treat for shock. Get medical treatment. Shock Pale, clammy skin, irregular breathing, fast, weak pulse. Keep person lying down and prevent loss of body heat. Do not give fluids if victim is unconscious. Get medical treatment. Burns Severity ranges from dryness and irritation, to blisters and charred skin. Cool burned area with cool water or ice packs. Do not remove clothes that stick to skin. Cover affected area and treat for shock. Cardiac Arrest Victim has no pulse and is not breathing. Check vital signs and perform CPR until medical help arrives.
Loss of body heat caused by exposure is called Hypothermia. This deadly condition is avoided by avoiding exposure to cold. Do this by staying dry and avoiding the wind. Put on rain gear before you get wet.
If you fall into cold water, do not discard clothing; it will help trap heat. Avoid moving as much as possible. A life jacket will reduce the need to move and help insulate against heat loss when submersed in water. When you're wearing a life jacket, pull knees up into body to lessen heat escape. If more than one person is in the water, huddle together to conserve heat.
Other ways to minimize heat loss in water:
- Tighten collars, cuffs, shoes and hoods.
- Cover your head, if possible.
- Swim only to reach a nearby boat, person or floating object.
- Remain as still as possible.
- Devote your efforts to getting out of the water, boarding a boat, raft or other floating device, or climbing on top of a capsized boat.
Care involves getting the victim out of the water and out of the wet clothes. Warm the victim gradually by wrapping him or her in blankets or putting on dry clothing and moving into a warm environment. If the victim is alert, administer warm liquids to drink that do not contain alcohol or caffeine. DO NOT warm the victim too quickly by immersing in warm water as this may cause dangerous heart rhythms. Seek medical assistance.