Rescue Diver Course - Day 1

September 8, 2009

I began my Rescue Diver course today at the Island Divers Hawaii shop at their Hickam Air Force Base location.  I started out by watching the video, then we ran through some rescue scenarios in the pool, after that we went over my knowledge reviews from the Rescue Diver book and I finished by writing the exam.

The video was pretty dry so I was glad to get out of the classroom and into the pool with CJ, my instructor for the course.  It was just the two of us so CJ had to play the role of victim as well as being the instructor.  We ran through a number of rescue scenarios to practice the kinds of rescues I'd be performing in the ocean tomorrow.  Some of the scenarios we did were:

  • Tired diver at the surface
  • Panicked diver at the surface
  • Unresponsive (face down) diver at the surface
  • Unresponsive diver at depth

I learned how to handle each of these situations.  One of the things the course stresses is to make sure you don't put yourself in danger.  If something happens to the rescuer then they're no help to themself or to the victim.

By far the most difficult was rescuing an unresponsive diver at depth.  You need to bring the diver to the surface in a controlled ascent while keeping their head up and the regulator in their mouth, drop the victim's weights, establish buoyancy for both of you by inflating your BCDs, check for breathing, give 2 rescue breaths if necessary, call for help, begin towing the victim back to safety while removing the victim's gear and continuing to give breaths every 5 seconds and, finally, once at the boat getting the victim out of the water.  Even in a controlled environment like the pool we were in this was pretty challenging.  Doing this in the ocean with currents and waves will not be easy.

Because the pool is at an air force base there were, occasionally, jets flying overhead.  So during the pool work we would stop every once in a while to watch a squad of F-15s flying formation and come in for a landing at the near by airstrip.  Not something I see every day.

Here's a shot of me at the pool we used for the training.

The pool at Hickam

We got back to the shop and went over the knowledge reviews.  After that I took the exam (which I passed with a respectable 48/50) but tomorrow will be the real test when we run through rescue scenarios in the ocean.


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