Rescue safety

A pool lifeguard scanning a pool

At Royal Life Saving we firmly believe in our motto that “Everyone Can Be a Lifesaver”, however saving someone else’s life can sometimes mean putting yourself in potential danger. Here are some vital tips to help you to ensure your own safety while rescuing someone else.


Q. When should I attempt a rescue?

A. In any rescue situation, your personal safety should remain paramount. There are many types of rescues which do not involve the rescuer entering the water. Assess the situation to determine which rescue is most suitable. Remember, if you enter the water without first assessing the situation and get into trouble, you will not be able to assist anyone and may even need rescuing yourself.

Q. What should I do if I see someone in trouble?

A. Royal Life Saving encourages people who find themselves in a rescue situation to follow the 4 A’s of rescue:

· Awareness: recognising an emergency, accepting responsibility

· Assessment: making an informed judgement

· Action: developing a plan, effecting the rescue

· Aftercare: giving first aid until medical help arrives

Q. How do I attempt a rescue?

A. When assessing a rescue situation there are a number of means by which the rescuer can try to assist the person in trouble, before they undertake a swimming rescue themselves. These include: Talk, Reach, Throw, Wade, Row and Tow rescues. Before entering the water, assess the situation – is there something on hand which you could use to reach the person, such as a rope, stick, or towel? Is there something you could throw to the person to aid their buoyancy, such as a life jacket, kickboard, or esky lid?

Q. Is there a risk in undertaking a rescue?

A. Yes. On average, 5 people lose their lives each year while attempting to rescue people in trouble. Often when you approach a person in difficulty they may be in a state of panic, and can easily drag you under in their attempt to stay afloat. It is important not to put yourself in danger; reassure the person whilst encouraging them to kick in themselves. Or if the person requires towing, you should take an aid out to them, and use this to tow them back.

Lifeguards working at a swimming pool

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