Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning

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Below is a forwarded email that I received from a friend. After reading it and remembering a time at the Wave Pool in Nashville, TN that I couldn’t get my head above water due to all the floats, and feeling like I was going to drown, I wanted to pass this along. I think everyone should read it because it might just save a life.

 

How many times have we heard on the news about a victim that was swimming with friends and suddenly disappeared?  This explains why.

by Mario on May 3, 2010

in Boating Safety,Water Safety

The new captain jumped from the deck, fully dressed, and sprinted through the water. A former lifeguard, he kept his eyes on his victim as he headed straight for the couple swimming between their anchored sportfisher and the beach. “I think he thinks you’re drowning,” the husband said to his wife. They had been splashing each other and she had screamed but now they were just standing, neck-deep on the sand bar. “We’re fine, what is he doing?” she asked, a little annoyed. “We’re fine!” the husband yelled, waving him off, but his captain kept swimming hard. ”Move!” he barked as he sprinted between the stunned owners. Directly behind them, not ten feet away, their nine-year-old daughter was drowning. Safely above the surface in the arms of the captain, she burst into tears, “Daddy!”

How did this captain know – from fifty feet away – what the father couldn’t recognize from just ten? Drowning is not the violent, splashing, call for help that most people expect. The captain was trained to recognize drowning by experts and years of experience. The father, on the other hand, had learned what drowning looks like by watching television. If you spend time on or near the water (hint: that’s all of us) then you should make sure that you and your crew knows what to look for whenever people enter the water. Until she cried a tearful, “Daddy,” she hadn’t made a sound. As a former Coast Guard rescue swimmer, I wasn’t surprised at all by this story. Drowning is almost always a deceptively quiet event. The waving, splashing, and yelling that dramatic conditioning (television) prepares us to look for, is rarely seen in real life.

The Instinctive Drowning Response – so named by Francesco A. Pia, Ph.D., is what people do to avoid actual or perceived suffocation in the water. And it does not look like most people expect. There is very little splashing, no waving, and no yelling or calls for help of any kind. To get an idea of just how quiet and undramatic from the surface drowning can be, consider this: It is the number two cause of accidental death in children, age 15 and under (just behind vehicle accidents) – of the approximately 750 children who will drown next year, about 375 of them will do so within 25 yards of a parent or other adult. In ten percent of those drownings, the adult will actually watch them do it, having no idea it is happening (source: CDC). Drowning does not look like drowning – Dr. Pia, in an article in the Coast Guard’s On Scene Magazine, described the instinctive drowning response like this:

  1. Except in rare circumstances, drowning people are physiologically unable to call out for help. The respiratory system was designed for breathing. Speech is the secondary or overlaid function. Breathing must be fulfilled, before speech occurs.
  2. Drowning people’s mouths alternately sink below and reappear above the surface of the water. The mouths of drowning people are not above the surface of the water long enough for them to exhale, inhale, and call out for help. When the drowning people’s mouths are above the surface, they exhale and inhale quickly as their mouths start to sink below the surface of the water.
  3. Drowning people cannot wave for help. Nature instinctively forces them to extend their arms laterally and press down on the water’s surface. Pressing down on the surface of the water, permits drowning people to leverage their bodies so they can lift their mouths out of the water to breathe.
  4. Throughout the Instinctive Drowning Response, drowning people cannot voluntarily control their arm movements. Physiologically, drowning people who are struggling on the surface of the water cannot stop drowning and perform voluntary movements such as waving for help, moving toward a rescuer, or reaching out for a piece of rescue equipment.
  5. From beginning to end of the Instinctive Drowning Response people’s bodies remain upright in the water, with no evidence of a supporting kick. Unless rescued by a trained lifeguard, these drowning people can only struggle on the surface of the water from 20 to 60 seconds before submersion occurs.

(Source: On Scene Magazine: Fall 2006 (page 14))

This doesn’t mean that a person that is yelling for help and thrashing isn’t in real trouble – they are experiencing aquatic distress. Not always present before the instinctive drowning response, aquatic distress doesn’t last long – but unlike true drowning, these victims can still assist in their own rescue. They can grab lifelines, throw rings, etc.

Look for these other signs of drowning when persons are in the water:

  • Head low in the water, mouth at water level
  • Head tilted back with mouth open
  • Eyes glassy and empty, unable to focus
  • Eyes closed
  • Hair over forehead or eyes
  • Not using legs – Vertical
  • Hyperventilating or gasping
  • Trying to swim in a particular direction but not making headway
  • Trying to roll over on the back
  • Appear to be climbing an invisible ladder.

So if a crew member falls overboard and everything looks OK – don’t be too sure. Sometimes the most common indication that someone is drowning is that they don’t look like they’re drowning. They may just look like they are treading water and looking up at the deck. One way to be sure? Ask them, “Are you alright?” If they can answer at all – they probably are. If they return a blank stare, you may have less than 30 seconds to get to them. And parents – children playing in the water make noise. When they get quiet, you get to them and find out why.


 

Get the Most From Your Gasoline

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I got this email from my friend Treny Biller. It’s just a normal forwarded email, but it made some sense, so I decided to post it here. Apparently, this has been going around for quite some time, and it was combined with the “Don’t Buy Gas For A Day” email in 2008. According to Snopes.com the claims in this email can’t be completely proved as true or false, so make your own decision on what works and doesn’t. Either way, if it’s not costing me money or too much time, why not try a couple of these tips to see if you can get the most out of your gasoline.

This email could save you a buck at the gas pump!!
Read it carefully ~

TIPS ON PUMPING GAS
I don’t know what you guys are paying for
gasoline….

but here in California we are paying up to $3.75 to $4.10 per gallon. My
line of work is in petroleum for about 31 years now, so here are some tricks to get more of your money’s worth for every gallon:

Here at the Kinder Morgan Pipeline where I work in
San Jose, CA we deliver about 4 million gallons in a 24-hour period
thru the pipeline.. One day is diesel the next day is jet fuel, and
gasoline, regular and premium grades. We have 34-storage tanks here
with a total capacity of 16,800,000 gallons.

Only buy or fill up your car or truck in the early
morning when the ground temperature is still cold. Remember that all
service stations have their storage tanks buried below ground. The
colder the ground the more dense the gasoline, when it gets warmer
gasoline expands, so buying in the afternoon or in the
evening….your gallon is not exactly a gallon.
In the petroleum business, the specific gravity and the temperature
of the gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, ethanol and other petroleum
products plays an important role.

A 1-degree rise in temperature is a big deal for
this business. But the service stations do not have temperature
compensation at the pumps.

When you’re filling up do not squeeze the trigger of the nozzle to a fast mode If you look you will see that the trigger has three (3) stages: low, middle, and high. You should be pumping on low mode, thereby minimizing the vapors that are created while you are pumping.

All hoses at the pump have a vapor return. If you are pumping on the fast rate, some of the liquid that goes to your tank becomes vapor. Those vapors are being sucked up and back into the underground storage tank so you’re getting less worth for your money.

One of the most important tips is to fill up when your gas tank is HALF FULL. The reason for this is the more gas you have in your tank the less air occupying its empty space. Gasoline evaporates faster than you can imagine. Gasoline storage tanks have an internal floating roof. This roof serves as zero clearance between the gas and the atmosphere, so it minimizes the evaporation. Unlike service stations, here where I work, every truck that we load is temperature compensated so that every gallon is actually the exact amount.

Another reminder, if there is a gasoline truck pumping into the storage tanks when you stop to buy gas, DO NOT fill up; most likely the gasoline is being stirred up as the gas is being delivered, and you might pick up some of the dirt that normally settles on the bottom. To have an impact, we need to reach literally millions of gas buyers. It’s really simple to do.

I’m sending this note to about thirty people. If each of you send it to at least ten more (30 x 10 = 300)…and those 300 send it to at least ten more (300 x 10 = 3,000) and so on, by the time the message reaches the sixth generation of people, we will have reached over THREE MILLION consumers !!!!!!! If those three million get excited and pass this on to ten friends each, then 30 million people will have been contacted!

If It goes one level further, you guessed it….. THREE HUNDRED MILLION PEOPLE!!! Again, all you have to do is send this to 10 people.

How long would it take?

I don’t send forwards because I typically think they’re spammy and offer little to no value, but in this case, every penny can come in handy. If any of these tips actually help, post them in the comments.