Emergency First Aid For Dive
Bill Clendenen, Vice President, DAN Training
REMOVE the injured diver from danger.
MONITOR the ABCs -- Airway, Breathing, and
POSITION the injured diver in a comfortable,
recumbent position. If the diver is nauseated, unconscious or
semiconscious, place the injured diver on his or her side with the
head supported. This is also known as the recovery, or lateral
PROVIDE FLUIDS. If the diver is fully conscious
and having no difficulty breathing, you can provide non-alcoholic,
non-caffeinated fluids such as water or fruit juice.
PROVIDE 100 PERCENT
OXYGEN. Use a tight-fitting
or nasal mask. If the injury is decompression illness, providing 100
percent oxygen at the earliest moment maximizes its benefits. The
benefits include increased off-gassing of nitrogen and possible
reduction in nitrogen bubble size, less tissue swelling, and an
increase in oxygen levels to oxygen-deficient tissues.
Once you use emergency oxygen, the results may
often be dramatic. Even if symptoms resolve quickly, continuing
oxygen augments the elimination of nitrogen and enhances the
ultimate results of recompression treatment
ACTIVATE THE LOCAL EMS
CONTACT DAN at the Diving Emergency Hotline:
the number is 919-684-4DAN (collect) or 919-684-8111 (toll). Divers Alert Network can help you make sure the injured diver is
being managed properly and can handle the referral to the nearest
available recompression facility. This service is available to
everyone, regardless of membership or insurance status.
Be prepared by having the following emergency assistance
information on hand:
Know the Local Emergency Access Number
Your diving preparedness means having access to
critical emergency assistance information, even though a diving or
medical emergency is unlikely. Many areas have a single emergency
access phone number -- 911 or another emergency number.
Know the Local Police & Fire Department
You should also secure the contact phone
numbers for the local police and fire departments if they are
different from the emergency number. Knowing the location and phone
number of the nearest hospital is also crucial.
Wear Your DAN Tag
a DAN TagTM will provide you, your buddy and emergency medical
services important medical and insurance information about the ill
or injured diver. If a diver requires evacuation for a
life-threatening emergency, contact the Coast Guard or other similar
group on VHF Radio Channel 16 to assist with the emergency.
Call DAN for Diving Emergencies
Divers Alert Network (DAN) is available 24
hours a day, 365 days a year to assist the diving community -- DAN
members and non-members alike -- with coordination, evacuation and
consultation when diving emergencies occur. The DAN Diving Emergency
Hotline number is 919-684-4DAN (collect) or 919-684-8111
Call DAN TravelAssist for Medical
Emergencies and Evacuations
If you are a DAN member and need evacuation for
either a diving accident or a medical emergency, call 800-DAN-EVAC
(326-3822). If you're outside the USA, Canada, Puerto Rico, Bahamas,
British Virgin Islands or U.S. Virgin Islands, call 215-245-2461,