Carry out structured assessment and treatment: Water rescue

Control Measure Knowledge

This control measure should be read in conjunction with Carry out structured assessment and treatment


A casualty who is still in water may require immediate intervention to keep their airway clear. If a risk assessment determines it is safe to do so, personnel can enter the water to carry out measures to achieve this.

Alternative methods of maintaining a casualty’s airway may need to be considered, such as using available equipment. For example, if the casualty cannot be removed from the water, equipment can be used to support their weight and maintain their airway until specialist resources can rescue them.

Structured assessment and treatment of the casualty should be carried out. This should include assessing the casualty to recognise potential signs and symptoms of drowning. Intervention may be required to prevent a casualty from vomiting, as this may block their airway or trigger a cardiac arrest.

Personnel should monitor the casualty after they have been rescued from the water, until they are handed over to a medical responder. It may not always be obvious that a casualty requires immediate hospitalisation. However, it is recommended that a casualty who may have inhaled or swallowed water is treated with oxygen and transferred to a hospital, unless a medical responder advises otherwise.

Strategic Actions

Tactical Actions