"Flinging the Squaler" Lifeline Rescues for Drowning Prevention

Title"Flinging the Squaler" Lifeline Rescues for Drowning Prevention
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsPearn, JH, Associate Professor Franklin, RC
JournalInternational Journal of Aquatic Research and Education
Volume3
Start Page315
Date Published08/2009
Abstract

In Australia, 86 “rescuers” have drowned over 15 years (1992–2007). Many victims have needlessly drowned simply because of bystander unfamiliarity with the simple skill of throwing a lifeline or lifebuoy. The basic paradigm of aquatic lifesaving is to affect a rescue, without placing oneself at risk. Twenty-five fit, untrained adults were recruited to assess their lifeline throwing abilities. Results from 190 competitors as participants in the Line Throw events at the National Australian Pool Lifesaving Competition 2009 were analyzed for speed, efficacy, and accuracy. It takes a medium time of 35 s for an untrained bystander to throw a lifeline. Only 20% can throw a line within 2 m of the target at a first attempt. In the heat of the moment, 20% do not secure the end of the flung rope. Trained children can affect a 10 m accurate throw and pull a potential victim to safety with a medium elapsed time of 23 s. The Australian national record for trained lifesavers (adult, 12 meter), is 10.08 s—world record 9.06 s. This simple lifesaving technique, with training in improvisation (e.g., garden hoses), will undoubtedly save lives.