Blending Programs for Public Safety Dive Teams

Blending-NitroxA very brief, and admittedly unscientific, poll of a few PSD team leaders from the North East turned up an interesting conundrum: Using Nitrox as a breathing gas has several recognized benefits for working divers, but several PSD teams cannot use Nitrox because there is nobody on the team who can mix it.

Blending breathing gases is certainly not rocket science. With a little training, and by following a few simple procedural and equipment guidelines, almost anyone capable of lifting a compressed gas cylinder can blend correctly. The issue for many PSD teams, according to the head of a volunteer PSD team in rural New England, is not one of complexity, but liability. “We have SOPs [standard operating procedures] for everything we do in the station, including search and rescue operations, but we have nothing in place that would allow us to use anything but compressed air. Sure we’d like that to change, but how can we make that happen?”

The answer is simple: we can help!

When ERDI’s sister agency Technical Diving International™ (TDI) first started to promote the use of Nitrox to recreational divers in the early 1990s, it added three programs to its curriculum to teach blending and “shop” procedures so that Nitrox (and Trimix) might be readily available to the dive community at large.

For the record, those programs are: Nitrox Gas Blender; Advanced Gas Blender; and Oxygen Equipment Service Technician. Of particular interest to most Public Safety Dive teams are the Nitrox blender and O2 service tech. The combination of the classroom and practical sessions for these two courses (which can typically be completed in one or two days under the guidance of a qualified TDI instructor), delivers a good grounding in both actual gas blending, handling and administrative record-keeping, plus the preparation, cleaning and selection of equipment for use with Nitrox gases (see the listing of topics covered at the end of this article).

Public Safety Dive teams, by the nature of their mandate and the regulations under which they operate, have to follow set procedures. “Without exception,” says Brian Carney, president of ERDI, “Public Safety Dive Teams have to operate within acceptable industry norms, have to follow common best practices, and have to work their operations under the sanction of an insurance underwriter. Our blending and oxygen tech programs give them a proven and supported framework that’s acceptable on all those levels.”

While the benefits and related costs of using Nitrox in your PSD team are certainly issues that have to be considered before making a case to switch operations from straight air (see other articles in this issue of the ERDI eNewsletter), the bottom line is to provide that gas to your team members without putting them or your operations at risk. And the answer to that is the training and operational procedures provided by our blending and technician programs for close to 20 years.



  • The Responsibility of the Gas Blender
  • Gases of Diving
  • Oxygen Handling
  • Gas Production Equipment
  • Mixing Techniques and Mathematics
  • Oxygen (O2) Analysis
  • Cylinder Handling and Sign Out
  • The Responsibility of the Service Technician
  • Oxygen (O2) Handling and System Components
  • Equipment Servicing and Materials
  • Gas Production Equipment

A more detailed discussion of these topics can be found in a recent article from the SDI eNewsletter here>>>

Want to speak with one of our PSD Instructors and learn more about Nitrox for your team? Come visit us at one of our upcoming events:

State Location Dive Event Date
Mukilteo WA Lighthouse Park PSD Event Aug 10, 2012
Ottawa OH Gilboa Quarry PSD Event Sept 7, 2012
Metroplouis IL Mermet Springs PSD Event Sept 21, 2012
Rawlings VA Lake Rawlings PSD Event Oct 19, 2012
Cheifland FL Manatee Springs PSD Event Nov 2, 2012

Contact ERDI

If you would like more information, please contact:

Tel: 888.778.9073 | 207.729.4201

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