First Aid for Divers Training

Saturday 16 October

After lots of emails and organisation, the day of the First Aid for Divers training at the club had almost arrived. I went to bed the night before (admittedly not particularly early) having set 2 alarms to ensure I was up bright and early. My intention was to leave my house by 8am so I could get to the club in time to help our instructors – Dave Tressider and Chris Hunka – set up for the day, and to make tea for the students as they arrived. I woke at 8.16am, both alarms having failed!

Needless to say, I was too late to offer any help to the 2 instructors and didn’t have hot drinks ready for the attendees. However, thank you to Marcela Turanova who made me a cuppa as soon as I rushed through the doors of the club with 1 minute to spare before the start of the training.

The First Aid for Divers course provides basic first aid training relevant to the types of accidents and illnesses that may arise in a diving environment. Of course, these are not all exclusive to diving and it therefore provides a good basic skill for all situations.

We started with some theory on the principles of first aid and the roles of a first aider, followed by a practical session on casualty examination. This role play allowed the creative and budding actors amongst us to really ham it up! In addition, we learned what to record and monitor in a casualty and the importance of this information.

This was followed by theory sessions on identifying and treating different conditions such as shock, wounds, burns and injuries to muscles, joints and bones. These sessions were accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation with some rather graphic pictures of each condition – certainly not for the faint-hearted! We also looked at summoning help; hygiene; and first aid kits.

Armed with an understanding of different injuries and illnesses we practiced bandaging and dressing wounds using the contents of a basic first aid kit and improvising with the equipment that would be available on a dive boat. We used hoods to secure dressings to simulated head wounds; dive gloves to hold dressings in place and reduce bleeding to hand injuries; and weight belts as slings (with the weights removed of course!)

During the day we also covered minor barotraumas (mask squeeze, ears, sinuses and teeth) and conditions such as sea sickness, hypothermia, hyperthermia and exhaustion. Much of this provided an excellent reminder of topics we all cover as part of the Ocean and Sports Diver syllabus.

The day, almost at an end, we had another practical session focusing on splints and moving casualties. Again we improvised with equipment and materials that would be available to us. Some of the most creative and effective splints were made from an inflated BC around a casualty’s legs, and an inflated SMB or fin between a casualty’s legs, all secured with weight belts. Lots of fun and an opportunity to let our imagination run wild!

This was a very full day but the content and excellent presentation skills of our 2 instructors made it enjoyable as well as informative. I can highly recommend it and would encourage as many club members as possible to attend future sessions.

Many thanks to Dave and Chris for their time, and to Mark Cockram who supported them further with his knowledge and experience gained in the police force. Thanks also to the students who are now better equipped to assist all club members should first aid be needed (although, of course, we hope we’ll never need to put the skills into practice). Students were:

  • Mark Cockram
  • Julia Colato
  • Tony Colato
  • Marcela Turanova
  • Graham Evans
  • Ros Hepple
  • Barry Duplock
  • Kevin Morgan
  • Dorothea Klinge
  • Leanne Collinson

Finally, for those interested in this or any other BSAC skills development courses, go onto the South East region website for dates and details of training available to us all

> Click here to visit the SE Region