Assume the possibility of a spinal injury. Bearing this in mind, you must of course avoid bending the victim’s back if he needs to be moved or transported.
If someone was injured while in the water, do not bend the victim’s head forward or put him in the jackknife position.
Carefully float the victim to shore.
Only remove them from the water when rigid support (i.e. a stretcher http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stretcher ) is available.
If possible one should avoid moving the victim until an ambulance arrives.
This one’s basically a re-run I posted on before, but I just can’t stop repeating it. Copied from my “Notes: Artificial Respiration and Heart Attack” post:
“If the victim is on the ground, unconscious, and has no heartbeat, give them CPR. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cardiopulmonary_resuscitation#Methods Lace your fingers with one hand over the other as it shows in the picture and have your hands over the person’s heart as you hover over them. Push down around a hundred beats per minute (to the tune of the song “Another One Bites the Dust”). You want their ribcage to go in to make their heart beat, otherwise your pushing won’t reach their heart and the victim will have a smaller chance of surviving. (That again without the coat of sugar: they will most likely die if you don’t push down on their heart hard enough. As a side note: they can recover from a few broken ribs, but they cannot recover from death.)”
I’d just like to add a link here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defibrillation and mention that the patient still doesn’t have a certain chance of surviving even if CPR is done correctly and they receive a couple shocks to the heart in a timely manner. Some people have pace makers to help prevent them from dying this way, but you should always assume there is a good chance that the person will stay dead. It’ll motivate you to try harder to help them and make you feel better if they actually live. Although, if they don’t get enough oxygen to their brain during this time, there is a possibility that they could have permanent brain damage if they survive.
“The American Medical Association Family Medical Guide” Medical Editor: Charles B. Clayman, MD (ISBN: 0-679-41290-5)
“Standard First Aid and Personal Safety” (“Prepared by the American Red Cross”) (ISBN: 0-385-15736-3)