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DAN – Emergency Action Plans

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Why You Need to Create a Personal EAP

After you’ve sprinted to your gate and experienced the sweet relief of making your flight, you get to sit back and listen to a preflight safety briefing. These briefings alert passengers of their role in the emergency action plans that airline safety professionals have created for the most likely in-flight emergencies. Data show that people who actually listen to these safety briefings are more likely to survive a crash or avoid injury during an emergency. If you have the opportunity to think about your emergency response before you act on it makes you more likely to execute that response without error. The same holds true when you respond to a diving emergency.

By Caitlyn Ruskell, DAN Content Writer/Editor

A few issues ago, we covered the importance of dive planning and recommended that all divers create emergency action plans (EAPs). When creating an EAP you should consider what emergencies you’re most likely to face, define exactly what would constitute each emergency and then make a plan for each. Begin by assessing risk factors and identifying hazards that could lead to an emergency.

To help divers prepare for the unexpected, DAN created the Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (HIRA) Program. DAN’s HIRA program consists of online self-assessments that divers and dive operators can take to help identify potential hazards and assess the risks associated with their diving activities. Taking one of these self-assessments gives you the foresight you need to prepare for the risks you face. Knowing and understanding the severity of these risks is what enables you to create an effective EAP that meets your diving needs; simply relying on an organization’s existing EAPs may not always suffice, so it is important to know how to craft your own effective EAP. To facilitate effective EAP creation, the HIRA program includes a free, online EAP tool that can be used to make an EAP for any emergency situation. To learn more, visit www.DAN.org/HIRA.

When you begin to prepare for the unexpected there are many things to consider. For example, if you are doing deep boat dives far offshore you know that the risk of a diver getting decompression illness is higher in this situation than if you were doing shallower dives. For a diving emergency out there, your EAP should include plans to extricate a diver from the water, activate emergency medical services, call the DAN emergency hotline and provide treatment as you head for shore. This plan would prompt you to have a functional communication system, a sufficient supply of emergency oxygen, an AED and properly trained rescuers on board. Having all of this in place can prevent a delay in care, and since the consequences of diving accidents can be immediately life-threatening, a carefully considered EAP could be your most essential life-saving tool.

In addition to creating an EAP for dive injuries, some often-overlooked emergencies that pertain to traveling divers include financial emergencies (e.g., a lost or stolen credit card or suddenly having to pay for medical treatment), accessing consular services in a foreign country, loss of communication services, or getting sick and needing assistance to travel home. Preparing for these types of emergencies requires some research to be done on your end ahead of travel time, but having a DAN membership and DAN insurance is the perfect supplement to your due diligence.

If you do not expect the unexpected, you cannot prepare for it. Calculate your risks, do your research and create effective emergency action plans.