DDRC Healthcare, Plymouth, Devon

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UK Diver Evacuation Procedure

UK Diver Evacuation Procedure

Evacuation and treatment of a diving casualty in the UK

At sea - call coastguard on VHF Channel 16 or phone 999

On land - call 999 and ask for ambulance

At sea, the coastguard will coordinate the rescue and/or evacuation. Follow their instructions and prepare for a helicopter or lifeboat evacuation. 

Onshore, or you are easily able to make it to shore, transport will be arranged dependent on the distance to the chamber and the severity of the condition. This could be via ambulance or helicopter, as appropriate.

 Bring with the casualty

 - the buddy (dive buddies usually follow the same dive profile and should be checked out as well)

 - both sets of diving equipment including dive computers


The DDRC Healthcare emergency team will await the arrival of the helicopter or ambulance, and get the centre ready for assessment and treatment of the casualty.

It is important to treat the diver as quickly as possible following the onset of the symptoms, to reduce the chances of permanent damage to the body. 

Whilst waiting for the emergency services, administer 100% oxygen and oral fluids. Obtain as much information as you can about the dive, the casualty's condition and write it down.

If arriving by private transport, follow the directions to Plymouth's Derriford Hospital (Emergency Department) and Plymouth Science Park is the second turning after the entrance to the hospital. It is sign-posted as the 'Hyperbaric Medical Centre', at 8 Research Way, Plymouth Science Park, Derriford, Plymouth PL6 8BU. 

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