SCUBA DIVING EXPLAINED
Questions and Answers on
Lawrence Martin, M.D. Copyright 1997
Brief History of Diving
All About DAN, or: Where are the hyperbaric chambers?
DAN, or Divers Alert Network, is a non-profit organization established in 1981 to promote diver safety. Affiliated with Duke University Medical Center, DAN's headquarters are in an office building in Durham, North Carolina, a short distance from the campus (see address at end of this Appendix). DAN is supported by membership dues (180,000 members), sponsoring corporations, and the sale of dive-safety-related materials such as textbooks, videos, and oxygen equipment. Since its founding DAN has gained world-wide reputation as the pre-eminent source for information on diving safety, and as an aid for divers in need of immediate help and/or referral to a hyperbaric chamber. DAN's activities include the following:
1) HYPERBARIC CHAMBER REFERRAL. DAN maintains an up-to-date list of all functioning hyperbaric chambers in North America and the Caribbean. DAN does not publish this list, since at any one time a given chamber may be non-functioning, or its operator(s) may be away or otherwise unavailable. Current information is regularly phoned into DAN by chamber personnel. Through Duke, DAN operates a 24-hour emergency phone line for anyone (members and non-members) to call and ask for diving accident assistance. Dive medicine physicians at Duke Medical Center carry beepers, so someone is always on call to answer questions and, if necessary, make referral to the closest functioning hyperbaric chamber. (The emergency HOT LINE phone number is at the end of this Appendix.)
2) OXYGEN FIRST AID. DAN offers oxygen first aid courses around the country. DAN tirelessly promotes the importance on having oxygen on dive boats and teaches divers how to use it.
3) DAN CHAMBER ASSISTANCE PROGRAM. DAN provides funding for recompression chambers and training for their staff in key diving regions throughout the world.
4) YEARLY STATISTICS. DAN keeps statistics on all accidents in North Americans that occur while scuba diving, and publishes a yearly compendium. This information is useful to track the rate of deaths and non-fatal accidents, to analyze their causes, and to show ways in which diving can be made safer.
5) ALERT DIVER. Dan publishes Alert Diver, a bi-monthly magazine mailed at no extra charge to all DAN members. Non-technical and oriented to the recreational diver, Alert Diver contains articles relating to dive safety, health and medicine, plus information on DAN membership benefits and activities.
6) MEDICAL EDUCATION. DAN conducts several courses a year on medical aspects of diving, held at the Duke University campus and also at popular dive resorts around the world. These medical courses are open to anyone with an interest in diving-related injuries.
7) INSURANCE PROGRAM. DAN offers an excellent insurance program for members. All DAN members receive automatic medical evacuation assistance; this is not insurance for self-arranged transport, as DAN makes all the arrangements after receiving a telephone call. This service provides global medical evacuation for a DAN member needing assistance 100 or more miles from home. For a moderate annual fee, DAN members can also receive supplemental medical coverage for any water-related accident (not just diving) anywhere in the world; this program covers up to 95% of hyperbaric chamber and other forms of medical therapy not otherwise covered by the member's regular medical insurance.
8) RESEARCH. Not least, through its university-appointed medical staff DAN does research in diving medicine and diving-related accidents.
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