Rescue Breath Blog

How Many Rescue Breaths Should I Give A Drowning Victim?

Question: How many rescue breaths should I give to a drowning victim?

Survival Med’s Answer: Determining the precise number of rescue breaths for drowning victims can be uncertain due to evolving guidelines and varying agency recommendations. While some suggest two rescue breaths, others propose five.

In water rescue scenarios, our suggestion is to provide five initial rescue breaths before initiating chest compressions. The reasoning behind this is the potential increased need for oxygen in victims who have been submerged. Offering extra initial breaths helps address potential oxygen deprivation.

Though guidelines may differ, the crucial aspect is prompt and effective response. The slight delay in starting chest compressions for those additional rescue breaths is, in our view, outweighed by the potential benefits in addressing oxygen needs after submersion.