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Decompression

Decompression Diving Overview

As your desire to dive deeper and stay longer expands, you leave the realm of recreational diving and the no decompression limits that you were taught. Diving deeper and staying longer at depth moves you into decompression diving. Decompression diving requires detailed planning, preparation, equipment, and mind set and takes you into a very advanced form of diving. If you have the desire to explore wrecks, caves, or whatever that lays in deep water, getting the proper training to safely operate and return from these depths is a must. Before you can return to the surface, you must decompress.

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Treatment of Decompression Illness

If DCI does happen, proper treatment is very important. First aid for DCI is immediate administration of 100% oxygen either through a demand mask that cover’s the patient’s face and delivers oxygen when the patient breathes. If the patient cannot tolerate a demand mask, a nonbreatheable, free-flow mask can be used with a flow rate set to 15 liters per minute. Masks should seal to the patients face so that maximum O2 is delivered to the patient. Air leaks in the mask will dilute the O2 percentage inspired. Do not use less than 100% oxygen as a way to prolong oxygen supply. Divers Alert Network (DAN) offers a variety of oxygen kits for the diving community as well as training in their use.

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Decompression Illness Denial

The risk of DCI exists with each diver and each dive no matter if it’s a short no decompression dive to 60 feet (18 m) or a staged decompression dive to 200 feet (61 m). Even if you follow all of the rules, your computer or dive tables, your decompression schedule, and ascend properly, DCI can still take place. In some ways, DCI is a statistical inevitability, something ever diver may have to deal with at some time.
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Decompression Training Frequently Asked Questions

Where can you get decompression diving training?

A number of training organizations offer decompression diving training. Training organizations such as, IANTD, GUE, NAUI, PADI, and TDI all offer decompression diving training. If you are looking for decompression diving training, finding a dive shop in your area with technical instructors may be difficult. Typically, only dive shops that categorize themselves as “technical” shops offer this type of training. You may have to travel out of your area to find a dive shop or instructor.

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Symptoms of Decompression Illness

DCI is typically classified into two categories: Type I DCI and Type II DCI. Type I DCI is considered pain only and other mild symptoms, where Type II DCI is considered central nervous system involvement and very serious. Sometimes it’s very difficult to determine what type of DCI it is unless you’re professionally trained in diving medicine. However, it’s very important that you recognize DCI symptoms even if you’re not sure what category they fall under. Here is a breakdown of the symptoms you can expect for Type I and Type II DCI.

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