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AD 2016 Q4

Alert Diver is the dive industry’s leading publication. Featuring DAN’s core content of dive safety, research, education and medical information, each issue is a must-read reference, archived and shared by passionate scuba enthusiasts. In addition, Alert Diver showcases fascinating dive destinations and marine environmental topics through images from the world’s greatest underwater photographers and stories from the most experienced and eloquent dive journalists in the business.

DIVE SLATE DAN PSA,

DIVE SLATE DAN PSA, EDUCATION AND TRAVEL EDUCATION SPOTLIGHT PUBLIC SAFETY ANNOUNCEMENT BREATHING-GAS CONTAMINATION Although DAN ® occasionally receives reports of divers who breathed contaminated gas, such incidents are rare. The health effects of breathing contaminated gas vary depending on the contaminant, but even trace amounts of contaminants can cause symptoms. The most severe symptoms associated with breathing-gas contamination are impaired judgment and loss of consciousness, both of which can be deadly underwater. Here’s what you should know. RECOGNIZING SYMPTOMS Sources of contamination vary, but they are generally related to impurities from the environment (engine exhaust, carbon dioxide, dust particles) or byproducts of the compression process (carbon monoxide or hydrocarbons from compressor lubricants). Each contaminant is associated with particular symptoms. carbon monoxide: headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, impaired judgment, confusion, unconsciousness carbon dioxide: hyperventilation, dizziness, confusion, unconsciousness volatile hydrocarbons: fatigue, headache, confusion, impaired judgment, numbness, cardiac arrhythmias, unconsciousness oil (condensed): headache, nausea, lung injury (pneumonitis), impaired respiratory function dust particles: impaired respiratory function While some contaminants cause direct harm to divers, others may cause equipment damage that increases divers’ risk of incidents. For example, excessive moisture can cause regulators to freeze or malfunction, corrosion and oxidation of scuba tanks, or reduced efficiency of compressor filtration. PREVENTING CONTAMINATION Prevent incidents related to breathing-gas contamination by getting your air fills from reputable dive shops. Take personal responsibility by conducting predive gas checks, and refrain from diving if your breathing gas has an unusual odor or taste. You can check your cylinder for carbon monoxide (CO), which is odorless, tasteless and colorless, by using electronic CO detectors or color-indicating devices. If you own a compressor, keep track of its maintenance schedules, and comply with proper fill procedures. CONFIRMING CONTAMINATION To receive timely and appropriate medical treatment, it is important to confirm contamination, which may be difficult based on symptoms alone. If you suspect exposure to contaminated breathing gas, stop diving, seek immediate medical evaluation, and contact DAN. Notify others who were exposed to the same source of breathing gas. Breathing pure oxygen may be advisable, especially if CO contamination is suspected. DAN offers free gas analysis assistance. If you were involved in an incident possibly related to breathing contaminated gas and have lawful control of the tank, keep it closed, and contact DAN Research at +1 (919) 684-2948 or DAN.org/DivingIncidents. For immediate assistance, call the DAN Emergency Hotline at +1 (919) 684-9111. For more information, visit DAN.org/ Health. STEPHEN FRINK PREPARED DIVER Although certification and refresher courses expose divers to the information they need to safely enjoy the sport, incidents still occur every year. To identify and address the root causes of these incidents, DAN ® has created a new, engaging and informative program: Prepared Diver. DAN examined multiple sources of data within our emergency, medical and insurance-claims networks to develop the program’s content. Analyzing information gathered from calls received, incidents reviewed and claims made, DAN identified the following five key preventable contributing factors that commonly lead to diver injury or death: • disregarding limits • improperly managing air • overlooking proper equalization or ear issues • failing to manage buoyancy • lacking control during ascent The Prepared Diver program offers insights into the science behind fundamental diving skills and highlights practices necessary for safe diving. The video series is divided into sections that address the root causes of dive incidents. Each segment includes an overview of the issue, a scientific explanation, a set of tips and techniques and a quiz. Although the program was designed to complement entry-level and refresher training courses, Prepared Diver includes information that will be of interest and applicable to divers of all levels of experience and training and who believe we have a responsibility to keep everyone safe. Administered by dive professionals, the Prepared Diver program will be available via DAN’s online eLearning platform. For more information, visit DAN.org. 30 | FALL 2016

TRAVEL SMARTER STOCK YOUR FIRST-AID KIT As outdoor enthusiasts, adventurers and globetrotters, divers participate in activities that can potentially cause injuries. Even diving itself involves its fair share of bumps, bruises, stings and scrapes. Remembering to stock and carry your first-aid kit is an important step in being prepared. Customizing and maintaining your kit will protect you further. Make sure you’re ready for just about anything. STEPHEN FRINK Start with the Essentials Commercially available first-aid kits for divers will provide you with a reasonable array of supplies that can be upgraded or augmented according to your circumstances (see DAN.org/store). These kits are typically well organized and easy to use. If you choose to put together your own kit, start with the following essentials: Basics Dressings and Bandages Accessories Medications hypoallergenic gloves CPR barrier tweezers safety pins scissors soap first-aid guide adhesive bandages gauze pads and rolls triangular bandages elastic bandages medical tape vinegar sterile saline solution irrigation syringe hot and cold packs aspirin acetaminophen ibuprofen diphenhydramine hydrocortisone cream antibiotic ointment dimenhydrinate loperamide antacid Customize for Your Needs The list above is only a foundation. If you know you’ll be hiking or walking somewhere with uneven terrain, include one or two lightweight, reusable splints. If you will be traveling with someone who has a history of severe allergic reactions, ask your physician about getting a prescription for an EpiPen. You might also ask your doctor to prescribe other prescription medications he or she thinks you may need. Consider the circumstances and conditions of your upcoming activities, keep track of items you wished you had packed on previous trips, and stock up. If you have questions, call DAN’s medical services staff at +1-919-684-2948. Maintain Your Kit Remember that the contents of your kit may be perishable and must be replaced periodically. Inspect your kit before every trip and at least once per year. Replace all expired medications. Evaluate all packaging for discoloration, signs of disintegration or other damage, moisture, rust, residue or mildew. Ensure penlights, otoscopes and flashlights have new batteries, and inspect scissors or shears for rust, corrosion or other defects. If you have any doubt about whether an item is in working order, err on the side of caution and replace it. For more information about health and diving, visit DAN.org/ Health. AD ALERTDIVER.COM | 31