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"Reducing PSD fatalities by 20%" and "Searching the 3rd Dimension"

Discussion in 'Public Safety Divers/Search and Rescue' started by BladesRobinson, Oct 7, 2006.

  1. BladesRobinson

    BladesRobinson ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

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    Gary, not to single you out here as I appreciate your friendship and hold you in the highest regards. Additionally, you have a way of "bailing out" of the search line during an emergency by simply letting go. That being said, I have to point out two things on this subject because I want you and other forum readers to stay safe!

    "We have been trained with the QR but haven't used them." ​


    The good news is you will NEVER need a "quick release snap shackle" ... until you draw your second to last breath underwater. I am optimistic that you will have a QR before that happens!

    "...we just hang onto the line so we can drop it and go should we need to."


    While the number of instances have been few, every PSD training organization is recommending chest harnesses in order to increase diver safety. You may recall that Dive Rescue International was the LAST company to make this switch, primarily because we believed it was dangerous. I believe I was the last holdout at DRI based on past PSD fatality data, but then we discovered the snap shackle made a better system. It was apparent that my concerns had been properly addressed by people smarter than myself!

    Because we are aware there is a better and safer way, I feel a deep sense of duty to inform as many people as we can.

    This is not "training agency bashing" as some may perceive it. This is not "grand standing" either. The depth of the problem was not fully understood until a recent review of the PSD LODD data at the IADRS conference. The facts speak for themselves and as the leader for the IADRS, I am compelled to share this information.

    Past "good luck" should not drive public safety divers to continue doing things the "old way." When we discover a safer way, it is responsible for all of us to embrace the change and continue to find more ways to improve safety. Our mission will not be fully finished until we have stopped line of duty deaths in the public safety diving community.
     
  2. james croft

    james croft Solo Diver

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    I use QR shackles when tethered when doing arc searches, but more commonly use a jackstay search pattern a two man team hold hands as they travel along the rope. They are untethered but hold onto the search line. When entangled the diver in trouble signals by hand squeezes and places his buddy hand on the entanglement, while maintaining contact with the searchline. There is some possibility of losing contact but being tethered is not really an option. Does anyone have a better way on a jackstay search to avoid losing contact with a diver ?
     
  3. bridgediver

    bridgediver Instructor, Scuba

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    Many would argue that a knife is more of a liability for ANY scuba dive. Especially for PSD, but that would be another thread.
     
  4. BOOM BOOM

    BOOM BOOM Dive Shop

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    I see no reason to open another thread lets here your argument why a knife "the most important tool to a working diver" is more of a liability.
     
  5. bridgediver

    bridgediver Instructor, Scuba

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    We've seen this a fair amount (not with the depth) but more often then not the tender is aware of the snag way before the diver. In some cases we've deployed the back up to the snag and had it cleared just about the same time as the primary would begin to notice -- with these distances and even greater.

    Agreed. You also usually need 2 hands to cut a line with a knife. You may only have one hand mobile enough. This is why we carry 3 pairs of shears minimum. One hand use, reachable from multiple places, can't cut yourself as easy as a knife and they'll go through almost anything.

    Maybe. But with proper dive planning and training it doesn't really matter how long he's stuck. Getting tangled up will never kill anyone, running out of gas and panic will. Our divers will have enough gas even at the end of a dive to easily last another 20min or so (depending on the individual SAC); add to this his reserve with even more gas if he needs it. He will also have the knowledge that his backup is coming and what will happen to get him free because its practiced.
    I understand what you mean that training is not the real thing but we can get pretty darn close if we want to - it depends on how we approach our training. We need to think through and practice all the gone to crap stuff so that it isn't so bad when it happens. I've done a ton of fire/EMS training scenarios that are alot more difficult and complicated than the real thing - why would PSD be any different?

    Thanks for chimming in, Gary
     
  6. bridgediver

    bridgediver Instructor, Scuba

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    What you bring up about fact and practice is very important. I'm asking you about the "facts" as I'm not familiar with what data you looked at (obviously) and the "practice" is only what we've learnt and decided what's worked best
    But did these cases have a practiced method of reaching that trapped diver to get him out and was it employed properly? I'm merely suggesting that perhaps it is a training/procedural issue in that there is a safe method of clearing a diver of entanglement without having to d/c from the tender. Again, why would they need to quickly bail out if they have a good dive plan and a redundant air source. If entanglement is the only issue we should have lots of time.

    Why is resuscitation necessary? The back up should be able to get down to clear the primary be it under ice or anywhere else well within the parameters of a "safe" dive time

    I won't quote the whole thing again but this is a great point to bring up. The back up diver uses a "contingency strap". This is somewhere around 8" long, has a non-locking biner on one side and a ring on the other. There is a fastex q/r buckle in the center so that if the back up's life is in question he can d/c from the primary. The biner's purpose is to clip to the primary's tether and/or the primary's harness. The ring stays attached to the back up's harness. The Q/R is there in case of a panicked diver that you've presented and can be released as a last resort. The strap will prevent the divers from becoming accidentally seperated as can happen easily in blackwater

    Another thing about this case is that it would seem to point out that we should not try to pull a diver out of a snag or entanglement. It may make it worse or hurt him (as seemed to be the case here). Having the strap helps as the backup won't be pulling on the tether with his hands while he descends down the line.


    I'm not disputing your facts at all, Blades but facts change when the equation changes (ie the presence of ice changes the fact that Q/R shackles should be used - in your opinion, correct?). To answer your question, our experience thus far has proved (to us) that this stuff does really work, we practice it almost every month. The other stuff did not work - again, for us. It's possible that both of these methods are not good and so I'll keep asking for those to present specific cases of where these procedures didn't work and WHY.
    I've given an answer of how to solve the problem of a trapped diver without him having to d/c from his tether but nobody has been able to give me an example of why this answer doesn't work.

    Its not a business for me and I am trying to learn all I can every day to make our guys better and safer, hence the questions.

    Very good discussion thus far. Thanks to all that have taken part.

    mark
     
  7. bridgediver

    bridgediver Instructor, Scuba

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    See my reply to Gary for some of the reasons why I don't like knives and also add that resheathing, even in good vis, is pretty difficult as the knife is often in a place that you can't see well. Add blackwater and the risk of slicing into equipment and tissue is compounded even more, even with the blunt tipped knives.
    We still have a few knives in our team and our policy is once its out during a dive its ditched - no resheathing, no carrying it around. You have to physically squeeze trauma shears for them to cut all but the most fragile things. They also have blunt ends and are alot cheaper then a knife.

     
  8. bridgediver

    bridgediver Instructor, Scuba

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    Agreed! But the diver may find his tether and person tangled. He may believe to have cleared himself and then d/c his shackle only to find he is still hung up in an area that he can't reach without help. Now he will be in real danger as topside doesn't know exactly where he is or his status



    I'm fairly certain that DAN's stats are high in this regard too. As I said before it is not the entanglement that would kill but how it is managed (dive planning, air sources, locating the diver etc)


    I appreciate what you've gone on to say, Blades. I couldn't agree more.
     
  9. bridgediver

    bridgediver Instructor, Scuba

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    Boom

    I'm glad you posted this.
    I think part of my problem is that when you say "quick release" you may conjure up 20 different items from 25 different people. Obviously some would be better than others. I'm not quite sure if I can picture what you're describing here. Do you have a link?

    What type would you recommend, Blades?
     
  10. BladesRobinson

    BladesRobinson ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

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