Fire fighters involved in search and rescue operations occasionally use SCUBA (Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus) and other underwater breathing systems in the line of duty. Use of these systems in the underwater environment may present a number of unique occupational exposures with potential medical implications. A full understanding of these exposures and their potential medical consequences will allow the diver to train, plan, and work in a manner which minimizes the potential for work related diving injury.
The following, although by no means a complete discussion of diving medicine, will provide the following information:
- A brief overview of the history of diving.
- An outline of basic diving physics and effects of diving on the body.
- A review of the major medical complications of diving including:
• Pulmonary Over-Inflation Syndrome (POIS)
• Decompression Sickness
• Nitrogen Narcosis
- A discussion of diving fitness for duty criteria.
- Discussion of diving safety = training + planning.
• Diving Safety and Planning Checklist
• Diving Emergency Assistance Checklist
- Links for answers to more complex diving medicine questions.
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