Scuba Safety Measures

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scuba-safetyLike any sport, no matter how fun and exciting, scuba diving has its fair share of hazards. Recognizing and dealing with these problems before or when they occur is crucial. Here are a few scuba safety measures to follow as well as some things that may happen whilst scuba diving. Whether scuba diving in Mexico or doing a pool orientation, understanding safety measures is a must before diving.

Contingency Plans for Every Emergency

“Anything that can go wrong will go wrong” This pessimistic and cynical statement by Murphy actually helps in scuba diving. What it means to always expect the unexpected. It is always good to prepare well so be sure to pack enough gear in case of emergencies. A good scuba diver always knows to have a contingency plan to retrieve external help should the need arise.


Decompression Injuries: DCS

Decompression sickness or DCS occurs when there is a forming of air bubbles in the blood while utilizing compressed air. This happens because the body is subjected to increased external pressure from the water. Nitrogen in a person's air supply, unlike oxygen, is not used up and absorbed by the body. The increased levels of nitrogen, unless controlled by a device on the breathing apparatus called a regulator, collects air pockets in the body causing DCS. The effects range from a cramping sensation, nausea, lightheadedness and a physical sensation referred to by divers as The Bends. An overly fast descent also causes DCS as the body and the regulator can't compensate fast enough for the increased water pressure.

Decompression Injuries: CAGE

Another decompression injury is cerebral arterial gas embolism or CAGE. This happens more often as a result of an uncontrolled rapid ascent as opposed to the bends that hit divers due to a fast descent. It manifests itself as sharp pains in the body especially in the sinuses, head and in the lung area. CAGE is a very serious condition that can be potentially fatal. The air bubbles are similar to those formed during DCS, only this time the air pressure changes trigger the bubbles in the body due to a sudden lessening of the water pressure surrounding the body. This causes the trapped air to have a higher pressure volume than the surrounding atmosphere. The effect on the diver is similar to shaking an unopened can of soda and than opening it.

Injuries

Injuries that come about from decompression range from the merely bothersome ones like nausea, sharp pain and cramps to more serious matters. Air bubbles reaching the heart or the cerebral system is one of the most potentially damaging injuries. Air bubbles form in the veins causing cardiac arrest when they hit the heart or a stroke when it reaches or hits the brain. Decompression sickness is one of the major reasons why controlled ascents and descents are so vital to safe diving.

Other Potential Maladies

Apart from the common decompression sickness other injuries from scuba diving are mostly atmospheric related. For instance diving in extreme cold water without an insulated wetsuit can likely cause hypothermia. Dehydration is also another common sickness that can occur when diving so ample water intake is important. Asphyxiation is another sickness that occurs when inadequate air supply starts to shut the body down.

Scuba Lifesaving

First aid classes are a great way to recognize the injury symptoms discussed above. Moreover first aid also teaches divers how to implement scuba safety measures emergency procedures if an accident occurs. Do ensure that the first aid course gives you full hands on training. Do not rely on text based or verbal descriptions when learning to deal with diving injuries. Keep a first aid kit handy and ensure that it is well stocked on your scuba diving trips. Also try to have back-up means in case something goes wrong and you need to call for help. A radio transmitter, cellular telephone and even signal flares are all good support equipment for a diving trip. Though it may be quite bulky, these basic items may mean the difference between life and death. With these scuba safety measures in place you can be sure to enjoy your scuba trip without fretting.

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