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IMMEDIATE FIRST AID ONCE VICTIM is out of the water:

(Treatment is the same for suspected lung-expansion injury or decompression sickness.)

1. Calm the victim, if he or she is conscious. Send somebody quickly to call "911" with details of  the emergency.

2. Keep the victim's airway open. This is imperative.

3. Place the victim in a supine position flat on his or her back. Keep the victim still. Head down is  not advised.

4. If victim is conscious & breathing, administer 100% oxygen through demand-regulator valve  system. Keep oxygen flowing smoothly until emergency medical help arrives.

5. If victim is not breathing, & no pulse is detectable, administer proper CPR, as per rescue  training (use the "A-B-C" memory jogger). Arousal & Airway, Breathing, Check Pulse.

Give 15 compressions of sternum then two breaths, repeat indefinitely until emergency medical help  arrives. If you have 2 rescuers, split duties.

For adults, compress sternum 1.5 - 2" inward at a point two finger spaces above bottom nub of  breastbone.

Do compressions at a rate of 80-100 per minute for adults. Stay steady.

6. Protect victim from excessive heat, cold, wetness or hazardous exhaust fumes.

7. Give victim fluids -- but absolutely no alcohol, caffeine or stimulants of any kind!

When qualified medical technicians arrive, advise them that IV fluids are in order for the entire ride back to a hospital emergency room or hyperbaric chamber. Do not use Entonox!! Use isotonic fluids. Glucose is damaging to the CNS.

8. Arrange for immediate evacuation when help arrives. Advise EMTs to keep the oxygen flow on non-stop for the full ride back to medical facility. Just like the IVs, this is vital. Advise sending only to a center with a recompression chamber. Avoid wasting time by sending to an emergency facility unconnected to a hyperbaric facility. Avoid unnecessary diagnostic procedures.

MAIN EMERGENCY PHONE NUMBERS for (Insert Your Location):

First dial "9-1-1."

Coast Guard Search & Rescue

Local Rescue Officer or Duty Officer

Local Fire Department (for EMTs)

Local Harbor Patrol or Marine Police

DIVERS ALERT NETWORK EMERGENCY HOTLINE:  919-684-9111

Diving Emergency Telephone Numbers
DAN America.... 919-684-9111
DAN America-Mexico....52-5-6299800 code 33937 or 4258
DAN Europe....41-1-383-1111
DAN Japan....81-3-3812-4999
DAN Southern Africa (Outside South Africa)....27-11-242-0112
DAN Inside South Africa (Toll Free)....0800-020111
S.E. Asia-Pacific Region
DES Australia
Within Australia....1-800-088-200
From Overseas....61-8-8373-5312
DES New Zealand....0800 4 DES 111 (0800 4 337 111).
Singapore naval Medicine & Hyperbaric Center....65-750-5546
DAN S.E.A.P.-Philippines....63-2-815-9911

HYPERBARIC CHAMBERS:

Your Local Hospital with a chamber: Location and Address

24-hour number:

Emergency Room:

STANDARD DISTRESS SIGNALS if YOU ARE on a VESSEL:

Shoot up signal flares day or night. If you've got 'em, light 'em.

At night you also can blink out international code for "SOS" with a signal light (... --- ...)

Use VHF radio Channel 16 or 156.8 MHz to give a resounding "Mayday."


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 Ernest Campbell, MD, FACS All Rights Reserved.

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