Proper procedure for OOA situations

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Posted by MHK on September 04, 2001 at 16:29:30:

The most recent tragedy has spurred a few thoughts in my mind which I believe warrant an overview of how to handle such a situation. I have recited the facts earlier, but the long and short of the story, as far as I understand them to be, was that Diver A had some type of problem vis a vis a regulator malfunction which precluded him from getting air. This happened at ~ 120' and the buddy [ one of a three man team] supplied an *octo* and proceeded to do an open water ascent..

The following protocol is how to handle the situation:

1) Get your buddy gas ASAP. Once that happens the emergency is over unless you create another one;

2) The way we dive we would have donated our primary, known working regulator, which would be on a 5' to 7' hose.. As the donor we would have switched to our back up regulator necklaced directly under our chin.;

3) We would look the OOA diver in the eyes to calm him down and would have remained in touch contact throughout the entire situation;

4) After you have supplied the gas and calmed him down, you should make sure that his regulator gets clipped off and then as the donor you should show him your pressure gauge. Presumably you have sufficent gas and you show it to your buddy to re-assure him.

5) Now you have a decision to make, it's called a command decision, and it requires you to give a signal and for your buddy to return the signal. To the extent you are close or you have adequate gas supply you would either signal to the upline, and get the return signal. This is generally preferable assuming you have adequate gas. This is also why we like the long hose, it allows you the manuverablility to swim back to the upline, which probably meant the difference between life and death in this weekends tradegy. To the extent that you don't have sufficent gas to get back to the upline you then use the thumbs up, which means lets get the hell out of here.

6) The OOA diver, by now, should have begun orally infalting his BC, and the donating diver controls the ascent. That is done by being in constant touch communication and what should definatley be avoided is the donor using his BS as the sole inflation source. Generally you'll find that you have an OOA diver without inflation and the donor may seperate, even if for a few seconds, and he ascends and the OOA diver sinks.. The results are manifest.

Next time I see the OOA drill being taught while on the knees at Casino Point I'll want one of the instructors that have been arguing with me in the last few weeks to tell me why it's a good idea to have the students do a meaningless dog and pony show buddy breathing on your knees and not even demonstrating how to ascend... Getting the gas to the OOA diver is only 1/2 of the problem, you still have to surface and that takes skill and practice and shouldn't be done in an ad hoc fashion for the first time when the sh*t is hitting the fan...


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