When things go wrong

By Francois Burman, Pr. Eng, MSc.
Emergency action plans
History teaches us that accidents are always possible, thus we should have plans in place to mitigate them. Clients as well as staff, bystanders, dive professionals and the dive business itself are subject to risk.

Emergency action plans (EAPs) are essential tools for dive professionals and dive businesses. These plans typically provide information needed in case a dive accident occurs, although this consideration is usually limited to traditional diving activities or expected problems. Comprehensive EAPs must address a variety of risk areas, and few people understand what goes into identifying, compiling, reviewing and qualifying a truly effective EAP.

This article is the first in a series that will cover the essentials of planning an effective and practical emergency procedure to help mitigate dive-industry-related incidents. First we'll consider where emergencies are likely to occur.

The risks vary by dive center, dive professional and area of operation, so we need a careful analysis to identify the real issues. Here is at least a partial list of possible risks to help identify areas of concern.
  • At the dive center: fires; explosions of high-pressure cylinders, gas tanks or containers of hazardous fluids; contact with chemicals or other hazardous materials; injuries from electrocution; social unrest or other involvement with aggressive people
  •  At the pool and training areas: exposure to hazardous substances (such as chlorine); medical emergencies (including from preexisting health problems); injuries (from slipping, diving, falling or lifting heavy objects); drowning
  •  While diving: traumatic injuries from propellers, ladders, slipping, diving or heavy objects, for example; encounters with hazardous marine life; lost divers; drowning; medical emergencies due to health conditions; entry and exit hazards associated with rocky shores or difficult-to-access caves or pools
  •  During transportation (on land or on the water): fire; inclement weather; capsizing; loss or incapacitation of people; launch accidents; road accidents; hijacking of a vessel or vehicle
 
Available oxygen and trained staff are among the most crucial elements of emergency preparedness.
Beyond the most readily identifiable risks are others that, though unlikely, warrant consideration and preparedness. These may be present in any of the areas listed previously or elsewhere:
  • a lost, abducted or wounded guest
  •  unacceptable or aggressive behavior by a guest, staff member or visitor
  •  sudden ill health or a medical emergency
  •  criminal activity or arrest, death or homicide involving a guest or staff member
  An important location-specific aspect of emergency planning that should be addressed for all areas considered in an EAP is the availability and reliability of local emergency medical and law-enforcement services.

By illustrating these hazards and their potential locations, we hope to inspire dive businesses and self-employed dive professionals to think through their EAPs in greater depth.
There will always be risks, but with better knowledge, understanding and preparedness we can reduce uncertainty and better contain the consequences of the hazards we will eventually face.

© Alert Diver — Q4 Fall 2017

Categories

 2018 (49)
 2016 (119)
After anaesthesia Air Quality Altitude sickness Annual renewal Apnea Arthroscopic surgery Bag valve mask Bandaids Barbell back squat Bench press Boyle's Law Boyle\'s Law Boyle\\\'s Law Boyle\\\\\\\'s Law Boyle\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s Law Breath hold Breath-hold Buoyancy Burnshield CGASA CO2 Camera settings Cancer Remission Cancer Cape Town Dive Festival Carbon dioxide Charles' Law Charles\' Law Charles\\\' Law Charles\\\\\\\' Law Charles\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\' Law Coastalexcursion Cold Water Cold care Cold Conservation Contaminants Corals DAN Profile DAN Researchers DAN medics DAN report DCI DCS DReams Dalton's Law Dalton\'s Law Dalton\\\'s Law Dalton\\\\\\\'s Law Dalton\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s Law Decompression Illness Decompression Sickness Decompression illsnes Dive Instruction Dive Instructor Dive accidents Dive health Dive medicines Dive medicine Dive safety Dive staff Diveleaders Divers Alert Diving career Diving emergencies Diving injuries Diving suspended Diving Dr Rob Schneider EAP Ear pressure Ears injuries Emergency plans Environmental impact Equipment care Exercise Eye injuries FAQ Fatigue First Aid Equipment First Aid kits Fish Fitness Francois Burman Free diving Freediver Gas laws Gastric bypass Gordon Hiles HELP Health practitioner High temperatures Hot Hypothermia Indian Ocean Inert gas Instructors International travel Irritation Kids scubadiver Labour laws Legislation Leukemis Liability Risks Maintenance Medical Q Medical questionaire Medical statement Middle ear pressure Military front press Mycobacterium marinum Nitrox Non-rebreather Mask Nosebleeds O2 providers O2 servicing OOxygen maintenance Ocean pollution Orbital implants Oronasal mask Oxygen Cylinder Oxygen Units Oxygen deicit Oxygen ears Oxygen equipment Oxygen masks Part 3 Plastic Pool Diving Radio communications Rashes Report incidents Rescue training Resume diving SABS 019 Safety Save our seas Science Scuba Injury Scuba children Scuba dive Scuba health Scubalearners Skin Bends Skin outbreak Skin rash Snorkeling Sodwana Bay Squeezes Supplemental oxygen Surgeries Surgery The truth Thermal Notions Tides Travel tips Tweezers Underwater photographer Underwater pho Valsalva manoeuvers Vasvagal Syncope White balance Winter Wreck dive Youth diver abrasion air-cushioned alert diver altitude antibiotics antiseptics bandages bent-over barbell rows breathing air checklist child clearances closed circuit scuba currents dead lift decongestants dehydration dive injuries dive medicing dive ready child diver rescue dive diving attraction doctors domestic travel dri-suits dry mucous membranes dry ear spaces electroytes emergency action plans emergency assessment equalizing exposure injuries flexible tubing health hospital humidity immersion pulmonary edema (IPE join DAN marine pathogens medical procedures medical risk assesment mucous membranes nasal steroids nasal newdivers nitrogen bubbles off-gassed operating theatre outgas pain plasters post dive preserve rebreather mask rebreathers risk areas saturation scissors scuba equipment scuba single use sinus infections strength tecnical diver thermal protection training trimix unified standards warmers water quality