What to Know When Calling the Hotline

In a diving emergency, divers can count on the 24-hour DAN-SA hotline for prompt and vital information.
 
The DAN-SA hotline is a 24/7/365 service that is available to everyone, whether you are a DAN-SA member or not. To call the DAN-SA hotline within South Africa, call 0800 020 111; or outside of South Africa, call +27 828 10 60 10. Please note that all calls are recorded.
WHEN SHOULD I PHONE THE DAN-SA HOTLINE?

The DAN-SA hotline has been established specifically to address the following situations or enquiries:
  • All diving emergencies;
  • Non-diving medical emergencies;
  • Diving medical information, such as fitness to dive, medication, and travel medical advice and enquiries;
  • Travel notifications and advice;
  • Diving medical examiner contact details; and
  • International medical centres or doctors who want to confirm DAN-SA memberships.
WHAT DO I NEED TO HAVE READY?

Whenever you contact the DAN-SA hotline, the following information should be available in order to expedite assistance and to ensure that contact with the caller or patient can be maintained:
  • The caller and/or patient’s name and contact number;
  • The nature of the emergency;
  • The patient’s DAN-SA membership number, if applicable or known;
  • The patient’s medical aid information, if the incident has occurred within South Africa; and
  • The patient’s travel insurance information, if applicable.
It is important to note that if the caller is not at the scene, at least one local contact number should be provided in order to reach the person that is in need of assistance, or those who are in charge of their care.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER I LOGGED THE EMERGENCY?

DAN-SA makes a conference call to one of the on-call diving medical officers (DMOs) when an emergency call is received and the nature of the event has been established. The DMOs will provide specialist diving medical advice as to what should be done immediately and will also make decisions regarding the further management of each case.
FACTORS THAT DETERMINE AEROMEDICAL EVACUATIONS

It is important to note that aeromedical resources, such as helicopters and air ambulances, cannot be dispatched unless the need for them has been confirmed and authorised by the DMO. Importantly, and contrary to popular belief, it may take longer to activate an air ambulance than it would take to mobilise emergency medical services via a ground ambulance. In addition, there are several factors, aside from costs, that influence the ultimate decision to make use of aeromedical evacuation, namely:
  • The availability of transport: Is an air ambulance or a helicopter available?
  • The nature of the injury: How urgently does the patient need advanced life-support and should they be moved to intensive care?
  • The location of the patient: What are the optimal logistical considerations for efficiently and safely moving the patient to a place where they can receive medical assessment and appropriate medical care, with appropriate medical support during the transfer?
  • Various aspects regarding the landing zone or airport: Are these appropriate for a helicopter or a fixed-wing air ambulance; are these open, particularly at night; what are the customs or immigration requirements; and what are the implications of getting the patient to the landing zone or airport or the crew to the patient?
The DAN-SA hotline was established first and foremost as a means of providing emergency medical assistance to injured divers. Although we would like people to be considerate, we welcome calls requiring diving medical advice and assistance.
Remember that it is far better to contact the hotline early, even when the concerns about a potential diving medical problem are very tentative, rather than to wait until the situation has become critical as the opportunity to assist becomes far more restricted

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