- Submersion in water regardless of depth
- Possible trauma to C-spine
- Possible history of trauma (i.e., diving board)
- Duration of immersion
- Temperature of water or possibility of hypothermia
- Mental status changes
- Decreased/absent vital signs
- Pre-existing medical problem
- Pressure injury (i.e., diving)
- Decompression sickness
- Post-immersion syndrome
Respiratory distress, wheezing, rales?
Hypothermia ≤ 95⁰F (35⁰C)?
- See appropriate protocol based on symptoms
- Notify receiving facility or contact Medical Control
- Drownings have a high index of suspicion for possible spinal injuries.
- When water temperature is less than 70⁰F (21⁰C) there is no time limit; resuscitate all. These patients have an increased chance of survival.
- Some patients may develop delayed respiratory distress.
- All victims should be transported for evaluation due to potential for worsening over the next several hours.
- Drowning is a leading cause of death among would-be rescuers.
- Allow appropriately trained and certified rescuers to remove victims from areas of danger.
- With pressure injuries (decompression/barotrauma), consider transport to a hyperbaric chamber located at Greenville Memorial.
- Consider hypothermia in all drownings.
National Registry Emergency Medical Responder
National Registry Emergency Medical Technician
National Registry EMT-Intermediate
National Registry Advance Emergency Technician