How Good is Your Emergency Action Plan?

Article written by DAN staff

In the middle of an emergency is not the time to think about how you’ll respond or whether your emergency action plan (EAP) is up to snuff. An effective EAP can be a powerful tool when an emergency arises.

Breathing Check

As a busy dive professional, you have to keep track of students and their individual needs, prepare for and organize training logistics, evaluate water conditions, etc. Adding the burden of responding to an emergency is task loading, but with an entire class of students in the water you need to make sure your emergency response plan is mentally and physically engrained. Knowing the dive site and having the appropriate equipment to deal with the emergency are necessary steps in setting you up for success. When was the last time you stepped back and considered the logistics of managing a real emergency?

DAN_EAPflowCommit Your Plan to Memory

Having a plan on paper is great, but you also need to know your plan and be ready to act on it under pressure. Use DAN’s EAP guideline to create your plan and practice it until it becomes an automatic response. By the time you identify the need to deal with an injured diver, you don’t have to think about your response – your EAP training should automate your response to evaluate the situation and continue down the planned steps.

Manage the Scene

Once an emergency occurs and you respond, it’s vital to your safety and the safety of the injured diver that you effectively manage the scene. Be aware of bystanders, boat or car traffic, or anyone who may be interfering with your response. Emergency response requires firm but respectful commands. Control the crowd and have a perimeter created around the injured diver so you have a safe space in which to provide care and prevent further harm to everyone involved. Use direct orders to get specific bystanders to contact emergency services, block traffic or help you move the patient. Talking to a crowd rather than an individual is confusing. Task specific people in order to get an effective response.

Communication and Logistics

Effective communications between all parties involved in an emergency can decrease stress and improve patient outcomes. Improving your communication with emergency medical personnel can increase the effectiveness and speed of their response, and help relay valuable patient information to the receiving physician. Whether you supply handheld radios to your staff, carry a satellite phone on a remote expedition, or have a fluent native speaker relay information to healthcare personnel to avoid translation issues, make sure that your communication is short, gets directly to the point and is as clear as possible.

For more information on EAPs and safe diving practices, visit DAN.org

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