Keep Your Rescue Skills Up To Date

Rescue skills are extremely important, even though they are rarely used or practiced. In the last month, we have had 3 drownings here on the south shore, two of them fatal, and I got to witness one of them first hand. This is the story.

It was a typical gorgeous morning at Ulua Beach. Curly and I were both giving our own classes when we see a Hawaiian canoe cruising into shore and people start calling for help. Apparently a snorkeler had been found, unresponsive and convulsing in the water. The Hawaiian canoe happened to be there so they hauled him on board and paddled him to shore. Fortunately for him, the first responder to the scene was a vacationing paramedic. He immediately went into action, administering CPR with text book precision. Curly and I stood watch and waited to assist. 

Another gentleman was doing the rescue breaths and the paramedic was doing compressions, 30 to 2 ratios! We had to continuously roll the victim over as water kept getting forced out of his stomach, and then back to CPR because there was no sign of life. 

EMS was immediately called. 

We called for an AED and after several minutes one arrived. I took the AED and started to break it open. The AED was taped closed, and the pads were in a highly sealed bag. – two small, but time consuming obstacles that I will be sharing with my future classes. After I opened the pads, we placed them on the victim and I waited to push the shock button, for the first time in a real life scenario. The AED analyzed the heartbeat of the victim, no heartbeat was detected, no shock advised! It prompted us to continue CPR! And so they jumped back to it. CPR continued until EMS arrived, roughly 10 minutes later. They administered drugs, and had to use the shock pads on him. In the end they were able to restart his heart and get a pulse! He remained in critical condition but was alive.

This outcome would not have been successful without the aid rendered by that first responder and his buddy. I thanked him afterwards and shook his hand; he was visibly emotional. I comforted him and assured him he did all he could do and that he did an amazing job. He saved a life!

As scuba divers, we all want to be up to date in training, equipment, and skills. Yet most of us do not refresh these skills as often as we should. In-water rescues and CPR are some of the most important skills to know and the ones least often used or practiced. It is crucial for everyone to be properly trained and current in their rescue skills, as this story demonstrates it can literally be the difference between life and death. I hope this story finds everyone well, and shows you that CPR and rescue skills can literally save lives, so don’t take them for granted. Refresh your skills, and review your training because you never know when you will be called to use them in the real world. Dive on, be safe, and keep a close eye out, for you never know when you are called to help rescue someone in or out of the water. 

Our Rescue Diver Course includes CPR, AED, First Aid, and Emergency Oxygen Provider certification. Call the ship to get dates for upcoming classes.