Do You Know Where Your Recompression Chamber Is?

Recompression Chamber

Photo by Jeff Gay

When diving on our own without the use of a charter operator, we sometimes do not do enough research on our own, if any at all, to find out what we need to do, who to call or where to go if an accident happens that may require a hyperbaric chamber…or a recompression chamber.

Most areas that are known for their scuba diving have a chamber nearby…others are far more remote.  Diving operators that take passengers out are usually well informed of the emergency procedures in case of an accident but divers that go out on their own without a licensed operator may want to find out where the closest facility is to their dive site and what is the best way to communicate and coordinate with them in a situation that may require recompression.

According to the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) there are over 4500 hyperbaric chambers in operation with approximately 700 of those in the North American region including the Caribbean.  Divers Alert Network (DAN) has approximately 160 of these chambers as a network of referral facilities.

It is always a good idea to look up the chamber’s info before you plan your dive…even if you were there just last year.  The reason?  Many of the chambers are closing their doors due to lack of funds or lack of business while others have withdrawn their 24-hour availability as it is difficult to staff them with people that are indeed capable of diagnosis and chamber operation around the clock.

Many locations also have “chamber fees”.  If you pay the fee, you may have little to no issue getting treated…if you choose to not pay for it, the chances of you not getting treated are still very low, but you may be faced with some outlandish fees at the time of treatment.   Remember, it is always good to assist the local chambers and the fees, whether you feel you may need them or not, assist keeping the chambers operational.

So please, before going for a dive, find out what is available to you by doing a little research first.  You could probably contact DAN or do a Google search in your area followed up by a phone call.

As always, be safe…

 

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One Response to Do You Know Where Your Recompression Chamber Is?

  1. For those of you in the mid-atlantic region your 24-Hour Emergency Hyperbaric Medicine Facility is located at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) in Philadelphia. If you happen to be in the neighborhood and would like to see the facility then please feel free to give me a call and I’ll set up a quick tour for you around our patient treatment schedules. You can find my contact information through International Training or Divers Alert Network.

  2. Robert says:

    I believe DANs official position is to go to the nearest medical facility
    http://www.diversalertnetwork.org/medical/faq/Why_DAN_Does_not_Provide_Chamber_Location_Information

    There are many reasons, most recently, dive buddies believing someone was suffering from an AGE and in actuality he was suffering from a brain aneurism. Where we dive in Las Vegas, we would pass by 3 hospitals with emergency rooms, to arrive at a hospital with a chamber.

  3. Keith Sannes says:

    What would a chamber cost !

  4. Mel says:

    So, where is the nearest decompression center for Laguna Beach, CA?

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