DAN Provider Training It`s really sad how many Instructors are taught during their IDC/IEC (depending on the agency) that they must be dynamic and maintain their technical edge in the industry but they overlook training. Many Instructors don`t promote continuing education in a way that is beneficial to YOU the diver. In 2004 I was in the top less than 1% of all PADI Instructors in North America for Continuing Education. How did I do it? I set out a minimum educational goal for people to go diving with me. I`m not talking about saying everyone has to be Advanced Open Water Certified. I laid out the conditions we would be diving in and then mapped out the courses that taught people how to deal with those conditions. Then I mapped out a training schedule so that people would be available to take training on their schedule to meet their needs. The results? I had divers who were well trained and capable to handle emergencies. If someone came up to one of my divers and turned off their air at 100 FSW there was no panic, silt-out or unecessary waiving of the hands. My divers were able to respond as it if was second nature to react to someone playing a foul practical joke.
Divers Alert Network (DAN) has created a line of courses dealing with Dive Medicine. These include: Oxygen First Aid for Scuba Diving, AED`s for Scuba Diving, Hazardous Marine Life Injuries, Advanced Oxygen First Aid (These four courses make up the Diving Emergency Medicine Provider - DEMP - course), Basic Life Support for Dive Professionals (BLSPRO), Neuro and REMO2 Provider. If you are a Rescue Diver certified in First Aid and CPR you may apply to DAN for the Diving Emergency Specialist rating after having completed any 4 DAN Provider Courses listed above or the DEMP course. There is also a Diving First Aid for Professional Divers Course available to qualified "Professional" Divers.
Most people hear DAN and think either Insurance or Oxygen First Aid. DAN is more than just Oxygen these days. From a Provider (Diver) standpoint there are multiple training options. I always told everyone who wanted to be a Rescue Diver that Oxygen was a Requirement (for you PADI Instructors you can see in a previous update that PADI allowed the Instructors to make this prerequisite call if they wanted to) and DEMP was highly recommended. If you are diving in the ocean the skills are highly beneficial. If you wanted to be a Divemaster then DEMP was required and BLSPRO was recommended. If you were going to be a Divemaster who actually worked as a Divemaster then DEMP and BLSPRO were both required. Remember, if you are on a boat and someone falls ill then YOU are their only hope, like Obi-wan Kanobi in the origional Star Wars according to Princess Leia. OK, so I`m a geek.
You might say, I have no desire to be a Rescue Diver, why do I need Oxygen Training let alone the rest of the curriculum? Well, those of you with no desire probably dive off cattle boats with 40 divers on a 30 foot reef that a reasonably physically fit person could free dive down to see what`s going on. You won`t be on my boat anyway so this blog series is certainly not directed at you.
You might think that all this training is extremely expensive and I just want to focus my training dollars on scuba diving - let`s leave the medical aspect to someone else. Fair point. Training is not cheap. I have spent more of my own money on my diving education than I spent on my college education for an AA, AS, and double major load BBA combined! I haven`t quite surpassed my Masters degree yet but give it a couple more years and I`ll probably pass that too. There are ways to make it less expensive. Bundle your courses. Tell your Instructor that you`d like to take a CPR/FA/AED course, a DAN DEMP Course and a Rescue Diver Course starting NOW (since if you are in an area with cold water now is the time to start classroom stuff so that you are ready to go when the water is warm) and will he/she give you a discount for doing all the courses with that Instructor/Shop. Twenty Percent off for a bundle is not unheard of. Remember, a well trained diver makes a good dive buddy and training covers many areas both in and out of the water.
So let`s make the case for the DAN Training. Oxygen First Aid (they have a Scuba and an Aquatics course for non-divers) is an essential diving first aid cornerstone. Many diving emergencies can be helped by the prompt deliver of emergency oxygen. Outside of technical diving there are currently no known instances where the deliver of emergency oxygen would be detrimental to the patient. Hence, the Oxygen Provider Statement of: "This is Oxygen, it may help you. May I give it to you?" is valid and true and should be reassuring to someone who has suffered a dive accident.
Now, emergency oxygen on a dive boat should be stored assembled and ready for use. Is that always the case? Of course not. So it would make sense that one should not only know how to turn on the cylindar but also how to put it together. Quite simply, never rely on someone else to have the equipment in a ready state. Do you rely on someone else to put your dive gear together? OK, you`re not diving on my boat either. Feel free to stand back and look at my gear from a distance but I don`t want you turning any knobs or adjusting any straps on my equipment. My emergency oxygen kit is fully assembled and in my Jeep right now. If I pulled you out of a burning car and you were suffering from the ill effects of burning polystrene crap I could put you on Oxygen while awaiting EMS. When I`m done I know how to clean my gear and take it all apart and then put it back together. I also know how to provide properly. I`ve been drilled on scenarios where I alter the delivery method based on the patient. People are not electric golf carts. You don`t just "plug them in" to a hose.
AED`s are becoming much more common today and can be seen almost everywhere. Been through an airport lately? They are pretty easy to use but when it comes to using one in a dive emergency it`s nice to know the ins and outs. Remember, you have probably exposed that kit to salt air and you might need to know troubleshooting. Don`t sell this course short.
HMLI introduces you to a whole host of underwater marine life. It also teaches you what the business end of those species will do and more importantly, what you should do immediately following an encounter. I`ll be the first one to tell you I pet the sharks, play peekaboo with the barracuda but eels freak me out. What do you do after your friend has been bitten by an eel? Better yet, your friend doesn`t know the difference between slithering things. Was it an eel or a sea snake!?! Learn what you should know.
I`m a fan of Advanced Oxygen First Aid. First off, there are two rescuers. That`s right, make the other person get the Oxygen Kit! Then you get to use the power tools. The MTV-100 can deliver 100% Oxygen to a non-breathing patient but used improperly by the untrained Provider it could also cause serious injury or death. That being said, everyone who has taken my Provider course has come out with an appreciate for the versatility and functionality of this tool as a life-saving device. Learn to use all the tools at your disposal.
Basic Life Support for Dive Professionals (BLSPRO) is precisely that. Rescue Divers and above should think about this course if they are in an area where they will be the first line of medical treatment for an extended period. In the Upper Florida Keys the Coast Guard will normally meet you at the dock. It`s faster. That means the first 30 - 60 minutes are spent providing care on the dive boat enroute to the ambulance. Also, the Coast Guard would rather leave them on the dive boat because they are not permitted to adminster Oxygen to an injured diver unless there is a Coast Guard medic on board. Yeah,[