Code Blue: Diver Medic Technician Course

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Diver Medic TechnicianI recently attended the Diver Medic Technician course, run by Chantelle Newman, which was a great experience.

The Diver Medic Technician (DMT) course is run by DAN Europe at Code Blue Education. The idea behind the course is to ensure you are prepared for and are able to deal with any diving related medical emergency. There are both theory and practical-based elements to the course.

My first aid background began with an emergency first aid course back in 1991. I completed various other first aid and lifesaving courses over the next couple of years, and became an examiner and instructor for First aid in 1993 through an Occupational Health consultancy. I have maintained some form of lifesaving and first aid qualification for most of the 25 years since that first course in ’91, and have held qualifications with the RYA, BCU, COCLG, BSAC, SSI, EFR, AIDA and several other notable agencies. I have also qualified hundreds of First Aiders and rescue trained staff.

Diver Medic Technician

I’ve always wanted to improve my knowledge past this basic level, so when I discovered there was a course taking place in Brentford, London with www.thedivermedic.com I signed up immediately. In order to take the course you have to be over 18 years of age, a rescue diver (or equivalent) and above or have held a first aid at work certificate. You should also at least hold a current EFR/ BLS/First Aid Certification. This course was certainly at a different, much higher level of knowledge than I have been exposed to before.

The course was headed by Chantelle Newman. Chantelle is from South Africa, where in 1985 she became the youngest female diver to be NAUI certified and qualified. She has brought together her passions for diving and medicine to increase dive safety awareness worldwide. She is the founder of the Diver Medic Facebook Group and the magazine ‘Diver Medic.’  She was the second only female ever to develop a Diver Medic Technician (DMT) Course accredited by IMCA for Commercial divers and DAN Europe for recreational divers, a course which Chantelle is still the only female able to teach. She is on the DAN Europe Training Committee, and is a regular speaker at the UK dive shows. Chantelle continues to work on projects related to Dive Safety and Education. Chantelle has recently been inducted into the Women Divers Hall of Fame 2016.

Diver Medic TechnicianEveryone on the Code Blue team is an industry professional. This is vital, because this is not a course you want to take with amateurs at the helm. There is, in certain areas of the diving industry, almost what I would describe as desperation for some Instructors to try and make money from skills they have not yet mastered themselves, and simply either sign off through an agency or scrape together a basic CV of skills so they can pretend they are going to offer value for money. If their primary objective is short term financial gain from skills they don’t even possess properly, then the outcome will be courses with little value, no matter what they charge. Code Blue are one of the organisations doing it properly; they know their stuff, and they are highly experienced in their field. My advice is to seek out operators of this calibre when attempting to improve yourself, especially where safety is involved. The trainers were personable yet professional, knowledgeable and put together a course that was hands on, fun, and yet very educational too.

Before the course we were given several self-study tasks to achieve. It was a great refresher on Oxygen administration, AED, hazardous marine life injuries, First and decompression theory and a very comprehensive Diver medic technician book. I really brushed up on my knowledge and had learned a lot of new information before attending the course, which set me up for a great learning experience and got me a couple of extra qualifications in the process.

Diver Medic TechnicianThe equipment used on the course was exceptional. We were provided with – for free – lots of equipment, manuals, DVDs, and during the course many of the items we needed to use such as needles, gloves and sutures. This course must have cost a lot of money to put together and to run, but quality is its main goal. The manikin was the best I’ve ever used on a course – it was hooked to a unit so it could show deterioration or improvement depending on your actions; you could inject it; listen to its lung and stomach noises; test it for pulse and blood pressure; and you could of course also perform CPR like you can on standard dolls. It meant the many real life scenarios we were given were very realistic, which made the course that much better.

The DMT course was put together for commercial divers working remotely so they could deal with diving emergencies. The perceived risks of commercial diving are higher, but in fact more recreational incidents occur. The DMT is a 10 day course and you receive DAN Europe’s DAN Recreational Diver Medical Technician certification, which is valid for 2 years. I would recommend this course to anyone wanting to further their first aid knowledge to an advanced level, and to all teaching first aid instructors. Knowing those next steps gives a real insight into what you need to do to help a casualty. I would also recommend it to all scuba divers and freedivers so they are in a position to help their fellow divers in an emergency, but especially to career industry professionals, who are responsible for their students… because this course will certainly save lives.

Here are some of the Diver Medic Technician course subject areas covered:

  • Bleeding
  • Fractures, sprains and muscle trauma
  • Shock
  • Burns
  • Electric shock
  • Asphyxia, pulmonary oedema
  • Respiratory arrest
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Convulsions
  • Hypothermia
  • Hyperthermia
  • The musculo-skeletal system
  • The nervous system
  • The heart, blood vessels, circulation and blood
  • The lungs
  • The ears, sinuses and vestibular organs
  • Personal hygiene in the management of injuries
  • The systematic method of examining injured or ill patients, including divers
  • Methods for monitoring vital signs such as pulse, respiratory rate, temperature, and blood pressure
  • Methods of caring for a casualty on site and during transportation
  • The administration of oxygen
  • Decompression illness, including pulmonary barotrauma and gas
  • Setting up intravenous infusions
  • Parenteral administration of drugs
  • Suturing
  • Catheterisation
  • Embolism
  • Squeeze
  • Ear problems – infections, barotrauma, routine hygiene in saturation environments
  • Injuries to skin and eyes
  • Near drowning, secondary drowning, vomiting under water
  • Carbon dioxide retention and poisoning
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Other breathing gas contaminants, e.g. hydrocarbons
  • Oxygen toxicity
  • Anoxia and hypoxia
  • Nitrogen narcosis
  • Underwater blast injury
  • High pressure nervous syndrome (HPNS)
  • Diving accidents
  • Thermal stress – the effect of cold on divers’ performance
  • Dental problems – recognition and first aid
  • Dangerous marine animals – treatment of common injuries
  • The first-aid equipment available at the site of a diving operation
  • The management of medical emergencies within a diving bell
  • Communications with EMS
  • Use and hazards of the drugs and intravenous fluids
  • Theoretical teaching of bladder catheterisation
  • Theoretical teaching and practice where available of Insertion of pleural drain for pneumothorax
  • Airway maintenance (laryngeal mask)

Contacts for the course:

E-mail: info@thedivermedic.com

Website: www.thedivermedic.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/groups/thedivermedic

Steve Millard

Steve Millard

Steve Millard is a leading UK based AIDA and PADI Freediving Instructor Trainer who is the owner of Apneists UK freediving group - www.freedivers.co.uk. Currently Press officer to the British Freediving Association and Performance mermaids lead coach.

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