Practice Makes Perfect – Being Open Minded

Discussions between people you respect and trust can take you to places you may have never gone.  This could be good or bad.  I like to think of it as a good thing.  Stimulating conversations can turn into ideas that you would have never thought of before the conversation.  Above all, there can be more than one way to view something.  Your way may not always be the only way to get things done.  This brings me to a discussion I had during a recent Rescue Diver class about different ways to do something.

In a real life scenario, wait – it’s not even a scenario, in a real life situation you don’t have time to discuss how things will pan out.   Follow me…

A diver comes to the surface and screams, “Help, I lost my buddy and I can’t find them”.   What could be the worst case?  The diver is out of air and has no help?  What do you do?  Unfortunately, you don’t have much time to think, you just have to act.  How do you organize the team of divers…  Who will call 911…  A search pattern… Get the diver to surface…  Remove the gear and get the diver out of the water…  Administer First Aid/CPR until EMS arrives…  Are we providing Oxygen… Go ahead, pull your hair out… Yikes!!!

Who can be right or wrong?  There is more than one way to do something.  In a rescue event there are definitely several ways to do things based on several factors:

  • Your training
  • Your comfort zone
  • Your beliefs
  • Team setup
  • Etc.

First off, most people go back to the way they are trained.  Your scuba diving instructor will explain why they are teaching a certain way (or at least they should).  After several practice runs you develop your own comfort zone for the skills.  After becoming good at these rescue skills (this is when you own the skills)  you can start putting your own beliefs that will be better in a real life situation.  If you dive with a group of people this is a discussion that should come up at least once a year, if not more.  In fact, you should run a practice run at least once or twice a year, if not more to keep you fresh.  The group of scuba divers you dive with should assign tasks so no one is running to do the same job.  I would just add that every one of the scuba divers should be comfortable with everything that must be done during a real life rescue.

My point is, there is not one way to do something, especially when it comes time to act.  In a scuba diving rescue, you need to be mentally prepared for this BEFORE something occurs.  It might be a good idea to have a conversation with your dive buddy to make sure there isn’t a better way to do something, or just different.  You never know, you might be in a situation that you may need to do something in a different way.

While on the conversation, if you go diving often with divers, you should be prepared for an event like the one above.  Get with other divers and go through a practice scenario at least once a year to make sure you work out any questions or ‘kinks’.  You never know, someone else’s life may depend on it.  Remember, there could be more than one way to save a life.

Safe Diving,

Butch Zemar

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