Hypothermia

Hypothermia

Last week we covered Cold Water Immersion and what can happen in the first two stages of falling into freezing cold water. In this week's video we go over hypothermia, how to rescue someone, treat them, and wrap them while waiting for help to arrive.

If you see someone who has fallen into freezing water the first thing is to do is always call 911 or have someone else call 911 right away. Second, make sure you do not enter the freezing water yourself at any point and if possible put on a personal flotation device before you begin attempting to rescue someone.

Reach & Throw: If you come across someone who has fallen into freezing water you should try to find something you can use to reach them. Preferably something that they can loop both their arms onto and use their body weight to hang on since the dexterity in their hands will be lost. A ladder, a shovel, or a pool cleaner are some examples of items that would work for reaching an individual stuck in freezing water. 

If you don't have something that will reach the person, look for something you can throw to them that they can attach to so you can pull them in. Items that work for this would include a rope, life-saver, etc. if you use a rope or something like it make sure you tie a loop in the end.

Once you have rescued the person from the water it is important to leave their clothes on until you can get them somewhere indoors and warm. If possible wrap them in a tarp to protect them from the wind and if you have anything you can pack around them for warmth do so. For instance a blanket, a sleeping bag, extra clothes, etc. can all be laid on top of the person or packed around them instead the vapobarrier.

Once inside do not place the person directly beside a heat source or vigorously rub their skin since they will be suffering from frostbite. Instead, remove any layers you wrapped around them and cut their wet clothes off. While waiting for help to arrive you can begin slowly warming them with heat packs (avoiding putting them directly on skin).

If the person loses consciousness wait for a breath for 60 seconds. If there are no signs of breathing after 60 seconds begin to perform CPR. Do not stop performing CPR until help arrives.