Emergency Planning: Why Do We Need It?

By Francois Burman, Pr. Eng, MSc.
One good definition of an emergency action plan (EAP) is a predetermined course of action intended to mitigate a potential emergency or damaging situation that might endanger or harm people, property or a business's or professional's ability to function safely. In this article we will explore the underlying purpose and essential elements of an EAP.
The needs of a dive business can be distilled into five areas:
  1. protecting its staff, clients and the public from injuries
  2. protecting its equipment and facilities, such as dive gear, boats, vehicles and the dive center itself avoiding exposure to liability risks
  3. considering the environmental impact — 
  4. especially the long-term impact — on the diving attraction, local communities and wildlife
  5. retaining its clients, business and sources of income.

Ensuring a plan is effective requires a more detailed assessment and an understanding of what actions may be necessary. We start with a vulnerability assessment in which we consider the probable hazards and then decide which of these are real and which are purely hypothetical. To help decide which hazards are important, we use the following simple risk-assessment tool, as described in the DAN Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (HIRA) program:
  • How likely is exposure to the hazard (probability)?
  • How often will there be exposure to this hazard (frequency)?
  • What is the likely outcome of an accident (severity)?
The answers to these three questions provide us with a realistic assessment of any risk. We then determine how to prevent, control or mitigate the risk.

To apply the tool, we must identify the hazards in need of assessment. The principal areas we review are the following:
  1. environment (in and out the water),
  2. diving risks,
  3. staff exposures,
  4. breathing gases,
  5. equipment.
Much of the world's best diving is found in remote, less-developed and sometimes less-stable regions — getting help might be more involved than simply making a phone call. This must be considered when evaluating hazards.

Once the various hazards and their probability, frequency and severity are established, we should be able to respond immediately and without any doubt about what to do. First, we should mitigate the initial situation:
  • Extinguish, contain, control and react appropriately.
  • We must communicate the situation to rapidly obtain assistance.
  • We need to take care of any injured people.
  • Emergency equipment needs to be readily available and functional.
  • We must follow the plan, react appropriately and not overthink our actions.
Other elements can be put into practice to mitigate emergencies and help you defend yourself and your business in the event of accusations, investigations or criminal hearings. These include the following items:
Standard operating procedures, when followed, promote avoidance of emergencies.
Checklists provide structured reactions, reduce the need to think, ensure consistency in actions taken and assist in training staff.
Reporting documents provide excellent learning opportunities and at a minimum reduce liability due to the timely recording of events.
Training is the cornerstone of prevention, preparedness and competence.
Practice through realistic and frequent drills will enable you to react appropriately, rapidly and calmly.
© Alert Diver — Q1 Winter 2018

Categories

 2019
 2018
 2016
Accidents After anaesthesia Air Quality Air exchange centre Air hose failure Altitude changes Altitude sickness Ama divers Anaerobic Metabolism Annual renewal Apnea Apnoea Arterial gas embolism Arthroscopic surgery Aurel hygiene BCD Back adjustment Back pain Back treatment Backextensors Badages Bag valve mask Bandaids Barbell back squat Bench press Blood flow Bone fractures Bouyancy compensators Boyle's Law Boyle\'s Law Bradycardia Brain Breast Cancer Breath Hold Diving Breath hold Breath-hold Breathing Gas Breathing Broken bones Bruising Buoyancy Burnshield CGASA CMAS CO2 Cabin pressure Camera settings Cancer Remission Cancer treatments Cancer Cannabis and diving Cannabis Cape Town Dive Festival Cape Town Carbon dioxide Cardio health Cardiomyopathy Chamber Safety Chamber science Charles' Law Charles\' Law Charles\\\' Law Charles\\\\\\\' Law Charles\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\' Law Chemotherapy Chiropractic Citizen Conservation Cleaning products Coastalexcursion Cold Water Cold care Cold Compressed gas Conservation Contaminants Contaminated air Corals Courtactions Crohns disease Crystal build up Crystallizing hoses Cutaneous decompression DAN Courses DAN Profile DAN Researchers DAN medics DAN report DCI DCS Decompressions sickness DCS theories DCS DM training DReams Dalton's Law Dalton\'s Law Dalton\\\'s Law Dalton\\\\\\\'s Law Dalton\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s Law Deco dives Decompression Illness Decompression Sickness Decompression illsnes Decompression treatment Decompression Diaphragms Diseases Dive Chamber Dive Industry Dive Instruction Dive Instructor Dive Pros Dive Research Dive Training Dive Travel Dive accidents Dive buddies Dive computers Dive excursions Dive gear Dive health Dive medicines Dive medicine Dive operators Dive safety Dive staff Diveleader training Diveleaders Diver Profile Diver infliencers Divers Alert Diving Kids Diving Trauma Diving career Diving emergencies Diving guidelines Diving injuries Diving suspended Diving Dizziness Domestic Donation Dowels Dr Rob Schneider Drysuit diving Drysuit valves Drysuits EAPs EAP Ear pressure Ear wax Ears injuries Education Emergency action planning Emergency decompression Emergency plans Emergency underwater Oxygen Recompression Emergency Enviromental Protection Environmental factors Environmental impact Environmental managment Equipment care Evacuations Evacuation Evaluations Exercise Exhaustion Extended divetime Extinguisher Extreme treatments Eye injuries FAQ Failures Fatigue Faulty equipment Fire Coral Fire Safety Firefighting First Aid Equipment First Aid Training First Aid kits Fish Fitness to dive Fitness Flying Francois Burman Free Student cover Free diving Free flow Freedive Training Freediver Freediving performance Gas Density Gas laws Gas mixes GasPerformance Gases Gastric bypass Gear Servicing Gordon Hiles HELP HIRA Haemorhoid treatment Hazard Description Hazardous Marine life Hazardous marinelife Health practitioner Heart Attack Heart Health Heart Rate monitor Heart rate Heart Heat stress Helium High temperatures Hip strength Hot Humans Hydrate Hydration Hydrogen Hydroids Hydrostatic pressure Hyperbaric Chamber Hyperbaric research Hypothermia Immine systems In Water Recompression Indemnity form Indian Ocean Indonesia Inert gas Infections Instinct Instruction Instructors Insurance Integrated Physiology International travel International Irritation Joint pain Kidneys Kids scubadiver Labour laws Learning to dive Legal advice Legislation Leukemis Liability Risks Liability releases Liability Life expectancy Lifestyle Low blood pressure Low pressure deterioration Low volume masks Lung function Lung injuries Lung surgery Lung MOD Maintenance Mammalian Dive Response Mammalian effect Marine Scientists Marine parks Marinelife Master scuba diver Maximum operating depth Medical Q Medical emergencies Medical questionaire Medical statement Middle ear pressure Mike Bartick Military front press Mixed Gas Mono Fins Mooring lines More pressure Motion sickness Muscle pain Mycobacterium marinum Nausea Nautilus Nitrogen build up Nitrox No-decompression Non-rebreather Mask Normal Air Nosebleeds O2 providers O2 servicing OOxygen maintenance Ocean pollution Open water divers Orbital implants Oronasal mask Oxygen Cylinder Oxygen Units Oxygen deficit Oxygen deicit Oxygen ears Oxygen equipment Oxygen masks Oxygen supply Oxygen therapy Oxygen P J Prinsloo PFI PJP Tech Part 3 Phillipines Photography Pistons Planning Plastic Pneumonia Pneumothorax Pollution Pool Diving Preparation Prepared diver Press Release Professional rights Provider course Pulmanologist Pulmonary Bleb Punture wounds Purge RAID South Africa RCAP Radio communications Range of motion Rashes Recompression chamber Recompression treatment Recompression Recycle Regulator failure Regulators Regulator Remote areas Renewable Report incidents Rescue training Resume diving Risk Assessments Risk assesments Risk assessment Risk elements Risk management SABS 019 Safety Stop Safety Saturation Diving Save our seas Science Scuba Air Quality Scuba Injury Scuba Instructor Scuba children Scuba dive Scuba health Scubalearners Sealife Shoulder strength Sideplank Signs and Symptoms Skin Bends Skin outbreak Skin rash Snorkeling Snorkels Sodwana Bay South Africa Spinal pain Splits Squeezes Standars Step ups Stroke Sulawesi Supplemental oxygen Surgeries Surgery TRavel safety Tattoes Technical Diving The Bends The truth Thermal Notions Tides Tips and trick Transplants Travel tips Travel Tweezers Unconsciousness Underwater photographer Underwater pho Vaccines Vagus nerve Valsalva manoeuvers Vape Vaping Vasvagal Syncope Venting Volatile fuels Washout treatments Wastewater Water Weakness Weigang Xu West Papua Wetsuit fitting Wetsuits White balance Winter Woman in diving Work of Breathing Wound dressings Wreck dive Wreckdiving Youth diver abrasion air-cushioned alert diver altitude anemia antibiotics antiseptics bandages bent-over barbell rows body art breathing air calories burn cardiovascular checklist chemo port child clearances closed circuit scuba currents cuts dead lift decompression algorithms decongestants dehydration dive injuries dive medicing dive ready child dive reflex dive tribe diver rescue diver training dive diving attraction doctors domestic travel dri-suits dry mucous membranes dry suits dry e-cigarettes ear spaces elearning electrolyte imbalance electroytes emergency action plans emergency assessment equalizing exposure injuries eyes fEMAL DIVERS fire rescue fitnes flexible tubing frediving gas bubble health hospital humidity immersion pulmonary edema (IPE join DAN knee longevity lower stress marine pathogens medical issues medical procedures medical risk assesment mental challenge micro-organisims minor illness mucous membranes nasal steroids nasal nematocysts newdivers nitrogen bubbles off-gassed operating theatre operations orthopeadic outgas pain perforation phillippines physical challenges pinched nerves plasters polyester-TPU polyether-TPU post dive preserve prevention pulmunary barotrauma rebreather mask rebreathers retinal detachment risk areas safety stops saturation scissors scuba equipment scuba single use sinus infections smoking snorkeling. spearfishing stings strength sub-aquatic swimmers ears tattoo care tecnical diver thermal protection training trimix unified standards vision impaired warmers water quality