Self-Help and Self-Rescue Techniques
Diving activity requires common sense, requires some care when we are in the water, on the surface or submerged. If the diver respects the diving rules, staying within his limits, planning the dive and looking for a relaxed dive, he will avoid conflict situations. Being in reasonable physical and psychic form is also of great importance. Despite this, if any problems occur the diver should be able to take care of himself and others.
Most of the problems in diving happen on the surface. The main ones are exhaustion, cold, cramps, separation of the companion, choking with water (pyroliths), currents and nervous tension.
In the event of a surface problem, the first thing to do is to establish positive buoyancy by putting air in the vest and, if necessary, dropping the ballast belt. Only then should one try to solve the problem that has occurred. If necessary, help should be asked as soon as possible, preventing a small problem from gaining uncontrollable proportions.
Problems that occur underwater are mostly easily avoided or controlled if the diver is calm and relaxed, check the air regularly and dives within its limits. The most frequent problems are exhaustion, cramps, separation of the companion, having little air or running out of air, continuous regulator yod, problems with equipment and nervous tension.
STOP, THINK AND ONLY AFTER ACT, IT IS THE KEY TO SOLVING PROBLEMS
DEALING WITH Cramps
Cramps are involuntary muscle contractions, which can appear in the legs or feet, caused by sudden and exaggerated exertion. Other factors may also contribute to its occurrence, such as poor physical condition, dehydration, deficient blood circulation or cold water.
In the face of a cramp, the affected muscle should be immobilized, stretch it and gently massage it to increase circulation. In the case of a cramp in the lower leg muscle (most frequent situation), the flap of the fin can be pulled by stretching the leg. The diving companion, too, can help by pushing the fin flap and massing the injured muscle.
SEPARATION OF THE PARTNER TO THE SURFACE
If the separation occurs on the surface before the start of the dive (due to currents, e.g. ) positive buoyancy must be maintain, an acoustic signal must be emitted and asked for help.
NEVER START THE DESCENT ALONE
SEPARATION OF THE COMPANION DURING THE DIVE
During the dive, the diver must always stay with his companion, at a distance that allows for mutual assistance in case of need.
If there is separation, the diver should search for the companion for one minute, at the end of which he should return to the surface. As the dive companion must have the same procedure, the two will meet on the surface.
ASCENT WITH LITTLE AIR OR WITHOUT AIR
Being low on air or without air is the easiest problem to avoid. To do this, check the pressure gauge before diving and consult it frequently during diving. Assuming the unlikely happens, there are a few ways to climb without problems.
The alternative air source is the best solution. The most commonly used systems are the pony bottle ,which is mounted on the main bottle, and the Spare Air (small bottle with regulator embedded in the tap), which is attached to the vest or another easily accessible place.
ALTERNATIVE AIR SOURCES
In the broad sense, we can also consider as alternative air sources:
- A second emergency floor (“octopus”) connected to the first floor of the main regulator.
- A second independent regulator mounted on a second outlet of the bottle tap.
- Shared air source.
1. SECOND FLOOR EMERGENCY
The second emergency floor, usually bright in color and with a longer hose, allows to offer air to the diving companion, comfortably and without the need to share the main regulator. Also, if by accident (a fin of some diver “rocks bottoms”) makes him jump the regulator of the mouth, the diver has an air source immediately available, while recovering and checking the good condition of the second main floor. The only disadvantage of this system is that if there is a malfunction in the tap or on the first floor of the regulator, both the second main and emergency floor are out of air.
2. SECOND INDEPENDENT REGULATOR
This does not happen if there is a second independent regulator coupled to a second tap outlet. If a leak appears on the first floor of the main regulator, simply close the tap to which it is connected so that the air does not run out and will breathe through the other regulator. In this case, the diver can still share the air with the companion.
3. SHARED AIR SOURCE
The shared air source is another solution. In this case, the air from the bottle is shared through a single regulator. It is critical that the diver who gives air totally control the situation. Those who give air should never let go of the regulator, even when the assisted diver is breathing, however allowing him to control the flow of air he breathes through the regulator’s purge button.
Each diver must breathe twice and pass the regulator to the other, although at the beginning of the sharing it is convenient to let the assisted diver breathe more often for him to re-establish himself and resume respiratory rhythm. They can then start slowly and calmly on the climb, with the diver providing air grabbing the companion’s vest to avoid separation.
CONTROLLED EMERGENCY RISE
Controlled emergency ascent is the last option. Up to a maximum depth of 12 meters and if the companion is far away, the diver can swim to the surface, releasing air continuously to avoid pulmonary overpressure. Coming to the surface you may have to fill the vest to your mouth and you should seriously think about the possibility of taking off the ballast belt to maintain positive buoyancy.
If you are more than 12 meters away, you can climb in positive buoyancy by dropping the ballast belt at the bottom and swimming to the surface. In this case, the diver should take the utmost care in continuously releasing the air, to avoid pulmonary overpressure.
REGULATOR IN CONTINUOUS DEBT
In this situation, the regulator should be removeed and destitured in the mouth or destine the lips of the mouthpiece, letting out the excess air. The diver must immediately notify the dive companion and start the climb accompanied by this.
PROBLEMS WITH EQUIPMENT
These problems are avoided with a heeding check before diving and regular maintenance of the equipment (at the dive site there is no possibility of making major repairs). Anyway the companion is key to help solve this type of situations.
WHEN WE ARE NOT WELL WE SHOULD ASK FOR HELP AS SOON AS POSSIBLE SO THAT A SIMPLE PROBLEM DOES NOT BECOME A VERY COMPLICATED SITUATION