While aboard a local dive vessel, an older gentleman began to complain of chest pain, trouble breathing, and dizziness. The boat was at capacity, as with most days during the busy season. Luckily, for this man, many of those other divers were trained, Rescue divers. Without hesitation, about six individuals leaped into action. One individual notified the captain and crew so they could alert emergency medical services. Another individual pulled out their dive slate and began taking notes about the man, his general state, his dive profile, and other pertinent information. Two divers aided the man in removing his wetsuit and helped him lie down. All while two other divers simultaneously assembled an Emergency Oxygen Unit. Within minutes, the now victim had an entire team attending to his injuries. When the vessel arrived at the dock, where they met local EMS who took over his treatment. Those six individuals reacted accordingly per their training.
Rescue Diver, Master Rescue Diver, Diver Stress, and Rescue; regardless of the course name, they teach very similar concepts or principles to aid divers during the most critical times. Firstly, call for help and activate emergency medical services. These may be the USCG, local sheriff, or fire departments. Secondly, record as much information about the victim to provide to EMS. Thirdly, start primary assessment and provide emergency oxygen. Additionally, students will learn how to respond to several other scenarios. These will include; panicked divers at the surface and underwater, surfacing an unresponsive diver, removing the diver’s gear in preparation for and egress while providing in-water rescue breaths, egressing divers, and numerous self-rescue skills.
These courses have a reputation for being challenging and near impossible. Yet, many divers will exclaim it was their most rewarding course thus far. They state their utter amazement and disbelief in their own abilities as a diver. We would encourage all divers to seek out their nearest dive center to sign up for a rescue diver course. Most dive centers will pair the Basic Life Support (CPR/First Aid) and Emergency Oxygen Provider courses with the Rescue diver course.
Stay tuned when you can take these courses and many more with us here at Zookeeper in the near future.