When carrying a drowning casualty, the head should be lower than the rest of the body to avoid inhalation of swallowed water. Lie him down on a blanket or towel. Turn the head to one side to allow water to drain from the mouth. If the casualty stops breathing, brain damage can occur in less than 5 minutes. It is vital to ensure that oxygen reaches the brain, and the kiss of life puts air into the lungs until they are able to breathe again by themselves.
It is vital not to put yourself at the risk of an electric shock as well when dealing with a casualty. Immediately switch off the source of power at the mains. If you are unable to do so, stand on any good insulating material such as a thick hook, a rubber mat or a pile of newspapers before attempting to help the casualty.
Use a wooden broom handle, walking stick or chair to push the casualty away from the source of electricity. Otherwise, without touching the casualty, a scarf or rope looped around their arms or feet can drag them clear. Once the victim is free from the electric current, place him in the recovery position or, if unconscious be prepared to resuscitate. And treat any burns.
Dealing with Electric Shocks
- Do not touch the casualty until you are sure that the electric current has been switched off.
- Never use a damp or wet towel or a metal object to free the casualty, even when the power has been turned off. First turn the head sideways and remove any obstruction from the mouth.
- Close the nose by pinching the nostrils together. Take a full breath and, placing your lips over the casualty’s mouth, blow firmly into the mouth until you see the chest rising. (With a small child or baby, cover both the mouth and nose with your mouth.) Remove your lips to allow the air to be exhaled and the chest to fall fully. Repeat the sequence at the rate of 15-16 breaths per minute (for a small child or baby, take quicker and shallower breaths to avoid injuring the lungs).
- Placing 1 hand on the forehead and the other under the chin, tilt the head hack to open the airway.
- When breathing begins, place the casualty in the ‘recovery’ position. Tilt the head back to open the airway, adjust the uppermost arm so that the hand supports the head and bend the uppermost knee so that it is at right-angles to the hip.
- Do not attempt to remove any foreign body that is sticking to or into the eyeball. Cover the eye with a sterile pad, bandage both eyes to prevent them from moving and seek hospital treatment immediately.
- Wash out any grit, dust or other small particles. Ask the casualty to tilt his head to the injured side, and rest a towel on his shoulder. Using your finger and thumb, hold the eyelid open and gently wash out the particles using a glass of clean, warm water.