Since 1997
Chamber FAQ
by Frances Smith, MS, EMT-P, DMT on June 23rd, 2017

​Could you send me information about hyperbaric chambers in the area where I'll be diving next weekend?
​In general, DAN® does not provide domestic chamber information to the recreational diving public on a nonemergency basis. There are two major reasons for this. First, chambers frequently change their availability or are offline for periods of time, and it would be impossible to keep divers aware of these changes if we distributed chamber contact information. 

There have been cases in which divers have gone out of their way to get to a chamber only to find it closed or available only to wound-care patients, not divers. Unfortunately, while there are more than 1,600 hyperbaric facilities in the United States, less than 130 will treat a diver. The rest are primarily nonemergency wound-care facilities.

Second, and perhaps most important, an injured diver should always be routed to the nearest hospital emergency department. For serious cases, this means calling 911. Once in the emergency room, the diver can receive oxygen, fluids as necessary, emergency care, a neurological exam and a thorough evaluation by a doctor to rule out other possible causes of the symptoms. The emergency department staff will often contact DAN to determine appropriate care, including the closest hyperbaric chamber facility available at the time of the call, if necessary. Access to a hyperbaric facility is always through an emergency department, especially after normal working hours. Even 24/7/365 chamber facilities are not staffed after hours until they're notified of an emergency.

A common misconception is that all diving emergencies require hyperbaric treatment. For lung-expansion injuries — including pulmonary barotrauma, pneumothorax (collapsed lung), and mediastinal emphysema (air under the skin) — hyperbaric treatment is contraindicated.

The DAN Emergency Hotline is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to both DAN members and nonmembers. Call us at +1-919-684-9111 at the time of the emergency, and we will provide you with the most current information for the most appropriate chamber near you.


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