Did you have a Labor Day weekend complete with cookouts and barbecues with friends and family? Maybe you went on a 3-day road trip, drank a glass of wine, or lounged by the pool? Perhaps you tackled a project around the house, spent a day at an amusement park, or had a quiet weekend with the family?
I spent Saturday, Sunday and Monday in class, working towards Rescue Diver certification. Don’t worry, it’s not a complaint. Despite three long days in the classroom, it was incredibly worthwhile and even fun! The instructor was great, the content was intriguing, and my classmates were fun. Okay, so it was a l-o-n-g weekend!
Saturday was completely devoted to EFR, or Emergency First Response, certification. We learned and practiced CPR, first aid, and the use of a defibrillator. Have no fear – if you’re choking, bleeding profusely or suffer a stroke or heart attack, I can help. As a class, I think I can say with some confidence that our favorite phrase of the day was, “Are you okay? My name is your name. I’m an Emergency Responder. May I help you?” We mastered the ABCD’S and reiterated the importance of monitoring a patient’s lifeline. All five of us are now qualified to handle: scene assessment, barrier use (Masks and gloves, NOT what you’re thinking!), performing a primary assessment, CPR, choking, serious bleeding, shock management, spinal injury management, and the proper use of an AED – Automated External Defibrillator. “Clear!”
Sunday and Monday were spent learning the specifics of Rescue Diving. We learned how to recognize and deal with diver stress, how to respond to and manage a diving emergency, and specific methods for helping tired and panicked divers. A look at common equipment failures was helpful, and we reviewed some first aid techniques learned the day before, but focused specifically on techniques as they apply aquatic life (bites, cuts/abrasions/punctures, & stings). Details were discussed regarding approaching injured divers plus methods of exiting the water with a victim. We looked at the specifics of underwater emergencies vs. those that occur at the surface, learned how to conduct missing diver searches, and discussed differences in CPR procedures done in the water vs. out of the water (Think about it. Can you do chest compressions in the water? No, silly!). We wrapped up on Monday with completing post accident reports, exits with an unresponsive diver, and administering oxygen to: (1) a breathing injured diver, (2) a weakly breathing injured diver, and (3) nonbreathing diver.
So … why am I doing this?
(1) I love diving and hope it turns into more than a hobby. If that is to happen, there’s lots more training ahead, and this is only the tip of the iceberg.
(2) If anything should ever happen, on or off the water, I want to be able to help.
(3) To increase my diving confidence and awareness.
(4) To become a better diver. Knowledge is power, right?
(5) I’m obsessed with learning.
(6) This is a rockin’ hobby!
Thankfully, I passed both the final for EFR & Rescue, so all that’s left are 9 in-water skills and 4 rescue simulation dives. Bummer, that means I have to go diving to finish my certification! After this weekend, I’m so ready to go diving, and am really hoping to get a trip in before the end of the year. A trip to Grand Cayman would mean I could finish up my pending Rescue, Underwater Photographer and Wreck dives all at once and come home with three additional certifications. We’ll see what the future holds!
If you’re a fellow diver, happy diving to you! And if you’re not, what are you waiting for?! Let me know if you have any questions; I’d be more than happy to help!