Undoubtedly, the term Golden Hour is well known and widely recognized by EMS, rescue divers and public safety divers. For the benefit of those who may not know what the Golden Hour is, it generally refers to the time immediately following traumatic injury or incident in which definitive medical care is required to prevent death. It isn’t necessarily defined as exactly 60 minutes; however it does reinforce the principal of rapid intervention.
Certainly many public safety dive teams have SOP’s and SOG’s that are written around the Golden Hour concept in outlining the response to a given call and that often is based on 60 minutes. For our purposes of discussion, we can presume that drowning or near-drowning can be a traumatic diving incident.
Making that transition from rescue to recovery diving is difficult. It’s difficult for the incident commander to make that decision, given that there can be perceived circumstances that may warrant different actions, such as time of year, water temperature and information obtained at the scene. It’s difficult for the primary and backup divers to make the shift, especially in their mindset of approaching the mission at hand. Complicating further, the actual prospect that a callout is a potential rescue and not a recovery is not only rare but sets into motion a different level of personal involvement, both physically and mentally. It’s fair to say that every public safety diver wants to be part of the team that makes a difference in someone’s life.
Having changed the mission from rescue to recovery, the recovery portion is equally important. While an uncomfortable situation, the recovery of a family member provides closure for the victim’s family. It also provides closure and a fulfillment of sense of duty for the dive team as well, having completed its mission.
These topics can be debated endlessly however one common thread is that being an ERDI diver in a public safety setting requires dedicated personnel and more than just a rescue diver course. It requires appropriate public safety diver training.
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