Everyone gets their kicks out of different things, in my case is adventure, specially when in comes in the form and shape of underwater exploration going to places where few have gone to admire the beauty of mother nature.
Yes, I love diving, and being a far from the coast dweller I take every opportunity I have (and can afford) to pack up my gear and head down to the water. But I like a very specific kind of diving… the safe one!
That is the kind of diving that you enjoy submerging yourself in adventure and discovery knowing that you and your diving team will always make the trip back to the surface without any incident. As divers, we all know that despite all the planning, sometimes an unexpected situation might suddenly arise and for that you will have to be prepared, and the more prepared, the better.
That is why sometime ago I decided to embark myself in a journey to become a safer and more proficient diver… a rescue diver.
Becoming a rescue diver is a two step process, first, you have to complete the EFR (Emergency First Responder) certification and then complete the rescue diver training.
Now, if you decide never to become a rescue diver (or a diver for that matter) that is perfectly fine, but please take this piece of advice, complete the EFR training. The skills that you learn during this course are useful both in water and on land, in the office or at home, with the kids or with grown-ups. Honestly, after completing this training I found myself wondering why I didn’t do it before, specially being father to two wonderful girls.
What is so crucial to learn during this program you wonder? It is basic first aid skills, including CPR and automatic defibrillator (that is the little device you find in some public places that can help to re-start a victim’s hearth. Talk sbout a life saver!) procedures. it also teaches how to manage emergencies, tend to cuts, burns and other potential ailments result of illness or accidents. I think we can compare these skills to your insurance policy, something you want to have but never use. However should the need to use it appear, you’ll be very glad that you got it.
If after completing the EFR training you decide to go on, then you will have to get in touch with you local diving shop and go thought the rescue diver training (you have to have an Advanced Open Water Diver certification before applying) and then is when the real fun begins!
This course is an scenario based program, where you will develop skills to manage a number of potential emergencies on the surface and underwater. These scenarios will cover situations from panic management to searching for and rescuing an uncouncious diver underwater. If you like an adrenaline rush, trust me when I tell you that not many things compare to the exhilaration of successfully completing this simulated rescue!
Now, my personal take after successfully completing the program is that not only you will become a more proficient diver, but also a more self-confident one and probably most importantly a much more safer diver.
I am not sure that it was part of the program, but my instructor insisted, insisted, and insisted (thank you Reyna) on being aware not only of my own (and my buddy’s) safety but also the entire group’s. I was shown tips and techniques to observe, detect and respectfully point out potentially unsafe situations. After all, the best diving accident is the one that never happens!
Now, I could not finish this little contribution without thanking my instructor Reyna, the folks at Dive Encounters and the people that patiently worked as victims and safety divers during the excersices and provided valuable feedback on my performance to help me improve.
I know that the rescue diver journey has only begun and there are many, many skills I have to perfect and some others I will have to learn, but I have taken the first few steps and I feel really proud of that.
Happy and safe diving!!!