THIS refers to your editorial ‘Drowning tragedies’ (June 24). The editorial has highlighted two recent drowning tragedies at two picnic spots — Gadani beach in Balochistan and Sandspit at Karachi.

These unfortunate incidents occurred while an official ban on swimming in the sea was already in effect.

If a near drowning tragedy has occurred and the victim has been taken out of water, then the first and the foremost requirement would be to perform cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on him. The CPR is a life-saving technique useful in emergencies, including near drowning cases in which someone’s breathing has stopped.

CPR serves as an artificial heartbeat and an artificial respirator until the heart assumes its normal rhythm. If you are able to pull the victim out of the water within five minutes and begin start CPR, the chances of survival increase dramatically. This technique should be taught in schools. Also, it is a must for lifeguards to know how to perform CPR. The lifeguards should be treated as fire extinguishers.

Drowning is often a silent phenomenon. Someone who is in the process of drowning may be unable to get his head above the water long enough to even call for help. A person may even drown without the people next to them knowing that anything is wrong until it is too late.

It happened with my son. He was standing outside the swimming pool among so many other boys when a boy pushed him into water. At that time, he hadn’t learnt swimming. I saw it happen. I raised alarm. The lifeguard straight away jumped into the pool and rescued him. We performed CPR on him which proved quite helpful. Had I not seen him being pushed, he would have been drowned.

To avoid the risk of drowning in sea, appropriate barriers and fencing should be installed and maintained by the city government at all picnic spots.

Air-Cdre (r) Azfar A. Khan


Published in Dawn, July 12th, 2018