Recognise and Respond

Bystanders have an important role in preventing drownings, although many drownings also occur when the bystander goes in to rescue and ends up in trouble themselves. The 4Rs (Recognise, Respond, Rescue and Revive) is an easy way for bystanders to recall the process for responding to a drowning situation.

For Year 1-3 students, the emphasis of the 4Rs is on Recognising someone in trouble and Responding appropriately.

assistance required signal
call for help
throw a flotation aid

The first R is Recognise – recognise that someone is in trouble.

  • Look for assistance required signal, distressed facial expressions, submerging faces/heads, limbs ‘climbing the ladder’.
The second R is Respond

  • Call out to the drowning person – ‘Are you okay?’
  • Call for adult help and provide flotation.

Watch this video of children demonstrating this in a real life scenario.

Teaching Tips and Class Management

  • Working in small groups (2-4), one person in the water role playing a drowning person.
  • Others watching and responding appropriately by calling and going for help, and providing flotation.