As forest fires swept across the western United States, divers were concerned that the air fills from local dive shops may have become contaminated by smoke.
Consequently, the Divers Alert Network stepped in and offered support to 17 local dive shops affected by the fires.
DAN air quality tests showed that there is no issue with any of the air supplied by the local shops.
According to Bill Ziefle, DAN president and CEO:
“We sent a team into the field to test compressed and environmental air around dive shops in some of the harder-hit areas . . . and we are pleased to reassure divers that the wildfires do not appear to be affecting the quality of the air in their tanks.”
The team from DAN analyzed the air from areas surrounding the various dive shops and tested it for concentrations of carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2) and particulate matter. The tests showed no elevated levels of CO or CO2, although they did show increased levels of particulate matter. But these were easily removed by compressor filtration systems.
According to Ziefle:
“One of the things that most impressed the team was the level of safety awareness shown by these dive operations. Most have adapted their practices to assure safe air and safe diving for their clients, regardless of the wildfires, and should be commended for their commitment to diver safety. It seems frequent fires are the new normal in this region, but it’s business as usual for these dive operators, with a few necessary adaptations.”
The team found that dive operators were using additional CO filtration systems, and were avoiding filling cylinders on smoky days. In addition, most shops were storing clean air in h-pressure banks to be able to fill cylinders on those smoke-intensive days.
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