Just how 'real' should a rescue scenario be?

Please register or login

Welcome to ScubaBoard, the world's largest scuba diving community. Registration is not required to read the forums, but we encourage you to join. Joining has its benefits and enables you to participate in the discussions.

Benefits of registering include

  • Ability to post and comment on topics and discussions.
  • A Free photo gallery to share your dive photos with the world.
  • You can make this box go away

Joining is quick and easy. Log in or Register now!

Graeme Fraser

Contributor
Messages
945
Reaction score
1,673
Location
Narnia
# of dives
1000 - 2499
Interested in people's perspective following a situation and discussion with a couple of fellow instructors.

Some context. I've taught and team taught quite a few rescue courses over the years and like to push my students hard. However, last week I experienced the most realistic and frankly terrifying rescue scenario to the point that all the participants thought it was 100% real. No question!

OK, this was a commercial diver course, not a PADI rescue course. For two weeks the instructor had pushed us beyond our limits and thrown rescue after rescue at us. However we'd moved on to various other tasks including zero viz construction and survey. Throughout the course the instructor made it clear that if a real emergency occurred, he would take over.

Fast forward to the last dive of the day and I was tendering for one of the students on a construction task. This guy had been pretty quiet over the course and wasn't particularly talkative over the hard wire Comms system. At the dive time limit, the Supervisor gave the order to inform the diver to gather tools and prepare to leave the bottom. Comms received a mumbled affirmative and I prepared to take slack on the lifeline. I then noticed how few exhalations were reaching the surface and called it out to the Supervisor. He immediately straightened and pushed the Comms guy out of the way, demanding a verbal response from the diver.... nothing. I was taking slack and could make out the diver just below the surface, seemingly unresponsive. Immediately the instructor vaulted the railings and screamed at me to pull him in as fast as possible. We waded in and dragged him out, turning him over, striping his kit and ripping off his FFM. What I saw was a dead body! Deathly grey, froth at the mouth and nose, eyes rolled back to the whites. We lifted him clear of kit with his harness and whilst one of the guys opened his airway and pinched his nose, I lined up on his chest to give compressions. Then, the instructor shouted cut and pushed me off before I did some real damage. I was incredulous, right up to when the 'victim' winked at me, at which point I called him and the instructor every f***ing expletive I could muster. How he managed to look so convincingly real, I don't know. Even to the point the instructor actually thought something had gone wrong.

Although a deeply unpleasant experience, the positives were many. Firstly no-one, froze, puked or fainted. The instructor said this was surprisingly common. Secondly the time lapse from initial alarm to out, striped, O2 ready to go on, rescue breaths, CPR, emergency contact initiated, 40 seconds.

Anyway apologies for my rambling post, but the ensuing debrief was very interesting and bought up the subject of whether we should adopt this level of authenticity to recreational rescue or whether it would be just too much. The consensus amongst most was that this level of realism could possibly result in a real heart attack.

Interested in your views.
 

KenGordon

Rebreather Pilot
Messages
3,986
Reaction score
2,807
As a commercial diver in the UK there are laws which apply. As a sport diver there are not. For sport divers we need as many people to be trained in rescue as possible, so that when there is an issue someone present can help. By upping the requirements on rescue training I suspect you will have a smaller, but maybe better trained, pool of rescuers. The question is whether that will improve outcomes or not.
 

Graeme Fraser

Contributor
Messages
945
Reaction score
1,673
Location
Narnia
# of dives
1000 - 2499
As a commercial diver in the UK there are laws which apply. As a sport diver there are not. For sport divers we need as many people to be trained in rescue as possible, so that when there is an issue someone present can help. By upping the requirements on rescue training I suspect you will have a smaller, but maybe better trained, pool of rescuers. The question is whether that will improve outcomes or not.
Yes a very good point. Scaring the cr4p out of people may be more of a deterant rather than an incentive.
 

swimlikethefish

Contributor
Messages
653
Reaction score
513
Location
East Coast
My vote is for training as realistic as possible. When it comes to lifesaving skills I want my rescuer to have the best most realistic experience possible. Kind of like in the military when they shoot goats and pigs for medics to train on real life specimen. I would much rather have someone experienced in said situation than someone who just read a book and took a silly class that went through the motions.
 

ontdiver

Contributor
Messages
584
Reaction score
400
Location
Ottawa, Ontario
# of dives
200 - 499
For recreational diving, scaring folks is not going to gain much traction. What the industry should do is rethink the cost of a rescue course to increase the pool of qualified folks and to offer a refresher - similar to first aid - to keep skills sharp. Pie in the sky in the $ driven world of recreational diving, but food for thought.
 

Jim Lapenta

Contributor
Messages
17,278
Reaction score
9,468
Location
Canonsburg, Pa
# of dives
500 - 999
I try to make mine as realistic as possible without causing additional issues. I have done things like be giving a briefing in the water where I am on the steps or ladder and without warning, suddenly drop "unconscious" into the water. Then remain motionless until someone responds.
I bring in buddy teams to play victims without telling the class.
Every class has a missing diver scenario. I'm the missing diver. They know this. They don't know that I may be buried in weeds, wedged halfway into a hatch, or up against the roof of a bus with just my legs sticking out. I'm also in a BPW with a harness that they need to cut me out of on the surface.
I also have a detailed discussion of Post Traumatic Stress related to the rescue with a handout that I have had published in several places.
My rescue class is also 175.00 for the books, two pool sessions, and two days of OW training. I need a minimum of two students. Victim volunteers are no trouble to get plenty of. At this rate, I barely break even with two students and may actually be a bit in the red. Three or four students allows me to make a little money.
The goal of this class is not to make money. It's to make it as accessible as I can so that more people will take it.
My own feeling is that rescue should be the first class after OW. Some of the requirements for certain agencies are ridiculous. Most "rescues" can be conducted before the divers get in the water.
You don't need deep, UW Nav or any other course to assist a panicked diver, bring a non-responsive from depth, or perform a tow. These skills are actually part of some OW classes.
The 25-50 minimum dive requirement is also dumb. If more OW students with 5 or 6 additional dives were permitted to take the class, you'd have more situationally aware divers in the water.
More importantly, you'd have more out of the water looking at other's gear, observing their mental and emotional states, checking their buddy in more detail, and it would help to alleviate the "this is such a simple and safe thing" attitude that plays a part in the deaths of people on Discovers and OW checkouts.
 

KenGordon

Rebreather Pilot
Messages
3,986
Reaction score
2,807
The BSAC way forces people to do more rescue to be able to go deeper than 20m. Tbh that is a bit of a hindrance to clubs so we like getting AOW divers as they are allowed 30m. We then start them on sports diver which has those rescue parts, but they can do plenty of real diving meanwhile.
 

Nemrod

Contributor
Messages
12,213
Reaction score
2,450
Location
Dixie/High Plains
It was so long ago that I did Rescue I was thinking to do it again. I do a lot of solo diving but when I do have a buddy or buddies or other divers, I feel I owe them my best.

But, OP, exactly what did you learn from having the s----t scared out of you? I think you are wondering the same thing? I do not think I understand the value of this particular exercise. A commercial program is not going to be the same as a sport diving program but I see no advantage to scaring people.

The only thing gained, well, you and the other students did not panic, but with the instructor shoving the students out of the way, how does he or the students know how you really would have done in entirety.

James
 

M-Cameron

Contributor
Messages
337
Reaction score
429
Location
New Hampshire
It was so long ago that I did Rescue I was thinking to do it again. I do a lot of solo diving but when I do have a buddy or buddies or other divers, I feel I owe them my best.

But, OP, exactly what did you learn from having the s----t scared out of you? I think you are wondering the same thing? I do not think I understand the value of this particular exercise. A commercial program is not going to be the same as a sport diving program but I see no advantage to scaring people.

The only thing gained, well, you and the other students did not panic, but with the instructor shoving the students out of the way, how does he or the students know how you really would have done in entirety.

James

there is REAL value in knowing how YOU react in what you think is a real scenario....you could master all aspects of rescue training and be the best in a calm, collected "classroom environment" where you know everyone is actually OK...

..but if you clam up, panic, or start making mistakes when your adrenaline is pumping and you think someone is actually dying, what good is all that training?

good training should drill in all the basics into you so that it is second nature, so that when your brain does shut down, you can act instinctively.....and theres no way you can gauge the effectiventess of that training unless you scare the bejezzus out of people in training
 
https://www.shearwater.com/products/peregrine/

Top Bottom