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Proper Rescue Procedure for Black Out

Discussion in 'Freediving Training & Techniques' started by alexrom1207, Mar 21, 2008.

  1. alexrom1207

    alexrom1207 New Member

    In a recent post Marwan corrected me that CPR is not the proper procedure to use on a blackout victim. I had always assumed it was, which just goes to reinforce the old sayings about assumptions. I searched for a thread that detailed exactly what to do but all I found was some sporadic discussion...so Marwan suggested I start one. Since I was already in the habit of taking Marwan's advice I figured I would continue....so here it is.

    What I want to know is:
    1. What is the proper step by step procedure for a SWB and DWB, and why?
    1.5: In the event that some of these steps do not have the desired result, what is the proper alternative?
    2. Is CPR ever used? If so when, and again, why?
    3. Can using CPR cause further injury to the victim?

    I know many of you have a lot of scientific and medical knowledge on these subjects and it would be good to not only know what to do but why I should do it. And PLEASE do not limit yourselves to only answering my questions here, as they are limited because of my limited knowledge on the subject. Any additional information on rescue techniques and procedures will be helpful, as well as advice on how to spot distress in your dive partner.

    Thanks Marwan for the advice and thank you everyone for whatever help you can give me.
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2008
    dotey likes this.
  2. Whopperhead

    Whopperhead Wisconsin Speargun Hunter

    Just thought this video was good. Also when diving it's good practice to 'spit' out your snorkle- everytime. You never know when a SWB may occur.

    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 17, 2013
  3. alexrom1207

    alexrom1207 New Member

    Thanks Wopperhead. I noticed that the rescue diver covered the mouth of the distressed diver. It's little bits of info like that that rookies like me may miss and as a result muck things up worse. That should probably be a step in the video. I've crossed over that step in my research and it seems there is some disagreement as to whether it is more important to cover the mouth or to get the diver to the surface quickly. The prevailing opinion, however, seems to be that covering the mouth is the best move.
  4. Crazys13

    Crazys13 Screw work, lets go divin

    I'm glad you asked that question, Alex, seeing as we will be diving together, I would also like some information regarding this subject. Can never be to safe, and I have never gone near my limits due to lack of partner. Thanks everyone in advance.

  5. cdavis

    cdavis Supporter Supporter

    Good rescue technique is pretty hard to describe in words over the web. Video is much better. There are other vids out there, including some that have been posted on DB. Use the search function, it might take a while, but will be worth it.

    In general, most BOs occur at or very near the surface. If you are right next to your buddy, as you should be, get his air way above water, get his mask off, blow on his cheeks below the eyes, tap his face(gently), and talk to him. There is lots more to good technique, but he (or she) will come nearly always come around just fine, even if your technique is much less than perfect.

    The reason for tap-talk-blow is to get the message to the divers subconscious. In a BO, the conscious mind and the visual nerves are out of commission. Smell, hearing and touch are still working. There are sensors under the eyes, water evaporated by moving air cools those sensors and lets the diver know he is in the air. His system takes it from there. Its pretty amazing to watch it happen, very fast.

    Taking a course is far better still. Fair warning, the only BO I've ever been directly involved in happened the first day of the first trip after my PFI course. I'm REALLY glad I took that course.

    Last edited: Mar 21, 2008
  6. trux

    trux ~~~~~

  7. Crazys13

    Crazys13 Screw work, lets go divin

    Appreciate the information very much, guys, on behalf of Alex and myself. I tend to stay very conservative, but this small amount of information is priceless.
  8. settingsteel

    settingsteel SettingSteel Supporter

    xactly how I have learned it...great advice
  9. Jace

    Jace 1.3 Rob Allen Railgun

    That video shown there is divers from my club in sydney.
    It is a very good video which shows main things that should be learnt so you can recover your dive buddy quicker and more efficiently.
  10. Bill

    Bill Baron of Breathold Supporter

    While we're on the subject, maybe there should be some discussion of weight belts. Many of the spear fishermen here wear enough lead to be negative at shallow depths with full lungs. Doesn't the classic SWB involve exhaling? Even in dynamic rescue, the slightest loss of air will put the diver on the bottom.
  11. alexrom1207

    alexrom1207 New Member

    I've always been told that a diver should be neutrally buoyant at 30ft (10m), so that he is negatively buoyant when deeper and positively buoyant when shallower. That way if he were to have a SWB he would float to the surface rather than sinking. Perhaps as a safety measure (if exhaling is part of SWB which I haven't heard about until now) then when determining how much weight to use, divers should calculate neutral buoyancy with empty lungs. Not sure if this is how this is commonly done, but like bill said, while we're on the topic of safety and SWB we might as well cover all the bases. Thanks for bringing it up Bill.
  12. Crazys13

    Crazys13 Screw work, lets go divin

    I can attest to the weight belt issue, because when I have been diving in the past (spearing) I was in very shallow water, and being "properly weighted" was resulting in a struggle to stay down in ambush. But with any intent of going deeper, I have heard try and be neutral at half your intended max depth.
  13. cebaztian

    cebaztian Well-Known Member

    This might not be the "final say" but it is a deep look into the issue:
    How to handle a freediver suffering from blackout

    This "thesis" is part of my exam as an Aida Instructor


    PS. Dont like the video. There are things missing and it might not be a good idea trying to save someone who is apparantly busy saving himself. Keep away from divers in distress, they might put you in trouble (ending up with TWO accidents). It might sound cynical, but wait until they have blacked out if they look paniced.
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2008
  14. Crazys13

    Crazys13 Screw work, lets go divin

    Sebastian, that was an excellent read, I went from beginning to end, and the information given is priceless. lots of stuff I didn't know, as well as alternatives, because you never know when one thing or another will or will not work. Thanks for posting!

    cebaztian likes this.
  15. Marwan

    Marwan Gear Buying addict Supporter

    Great Articles indeed, im glad i suggested it Alex :), there are some items that need to be highlighted to make this advice work though maybe more tailored for spearfishing
    1 - You have to see that your buddy is in distress to rescue them: Typically in freediving/freediving comps, there is a safety diver looking out for the freediver, a point that many people doing spearfishing miss..there are some threads of good buddy practice when spearfishng, personally i use the one up, one down method..always looking after my buddy and ensuring he takes a few breaths at the surface after he surfaces, sometimes BO's occur after surfacing...same goes for him when im down..its very easy to be wandering off in different directions and not look out for eachother, distracted by fish etc..this takes practice to get right, but really worth it
    2 - Having a computer/timer is good, try to make it a point to rest on the surface for 2-3 times the amount of time you dived, this helps reduce the risk of BO in my opinion, so if for example your dive lasts 30 seconds, stay for 1:30 before your next dive etc..
    3 - Dont Push Yourself!, no fish is worth it..
    4 - If someone suffers from slight BO and is revived, needless to say, do not dive again that day..
    5- to answer the CPR question, in my opinion, should be used if there is an issue with pulse and heartbeat, not just unconsiousness..like the article suggests, its the second stage etc.. of rescue..
    6 - I always felt that using a float/floatline setup is helpful in these instance, it can be very valuable, it provides a space for the rescused freediver to rest, they are usually tired to tredwater after wards, you also dont loose the gun..and maybe limit your losses to a weightbelt..i do recall when my buddy BO'd once (but that was in freediving practice), the float really was an invaluable piece of equipment
    stay safe guys and have fun hope none of us ever need to use any of this stuff..:)
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2008
  16. Crazys13

    Crazys13 Screw work, lets go divin

    I can definately second the float thing. I recently made one for holding my stringed fish, and its got a bungee on top for putting gatorade/water and/or a banana. Best part is its made out of an old beginner surfboard (seems like its for 10-12 year olds) and its foam. And its got plenty of floatation to grab onto it and chill for a while.

    Thanks for all your input! I'm sure Alexrom will chime in??

  17. TRITON

    TRITON THere Are NO limits!!!

    Is it good to block the victim's mouth while bringing him to the surface to prevent inhaling water?
  18. BennyB

    BennyB will freedive for beer Staff Member Forum Mentor

    Yep definitely. If you block then no water should enter the mouth and potentially enter the lungs. If you don't block then water might get in and then it's a completely different kettle of fish, the BO victim will have a much much harder time trying to breath if/when they wake up, and also there is the chance of secondary drowning later on, even hours after the initial event.

    You can't hurt them more by blocking the mouth/nose while rescuing them, and if they were conscious they would have their mouth shut anyway.

  19. TRITON

    TRITON THere Are NO limits!!!

  20. alexrom1207

    alexrom1207 New Member

    Started a new thread with some Samba videos....good thing to know what to expect. All the rescuers seem very calm and collected in each video, so they obviously knew the techniques and the signs of distress. This was the first time I'd seen something like this and I was freaked out at first :( so better to get some exposure now, rather than when/if it happens in real life.