What's the fastest way to rescue a drowning victim

7:26 PM, Aug 19, 2013   |    comments
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People watching as crew search for missing teen at Pere Marquette Beach, Muskegon County

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WZZM) -- Every year on Lake Michigan people drown while people try to rescue them; saving a life comes down to the rescue method and in every rescue situation you need to evaluate the pros and cons of the rescue technique.

With experts Bob Pratt and Vince Deur WZZM 13 tested and timed three common water rescue techniques on a person posing as a distressed swimmer.

First, the rescue ring. While the rope was hard to manage, this technique is perfect for short distances. Using the ring timed in at 45 seconds.

Next we tried the human chain. One of the most common techniques, it's also the most dangerous. "A lot of times you're putting untrained rescuers out into a dangerous situation," says Pratt.

Early on the human chain broke, creating more potential victims. And our rescue time was sluggish at 1:15.

The last thing we tested is a surf board. "It's the best rescue you can make at a distance-- it's something that can get you out there fast," said Pratt.

The con, surf boards aren't always on the beach. Still it was the safest and fastest, getting to our distressed swimmer in just 36 seconds.

But before you attempt any rescue, Pratt says make sure to stop and assess, "What's my ability? What's the water temperature? Can I do this safely? If you can't do it safely, you have no business being in the water."

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