DEMA 2006 Special: DAN Hosts DEMA Pre-conference Diving Fatalities Investigation Workshop Related to Rebreathers

Diver’s Alert Network, the world’s diving safety association, hosted a workshop on November 7, 2006 to discuss with industry leaders the issues surrounding fatalities investigations related to rebreathers.  In preparation for DAN’s Technical Diving Conference in January of 2008, Dr. Richard Vann hosted the event.  The discussion included presentations on current efforts in investigational techniques related to rebreather equipment, the current trend in fatality statistics, governmental involvement and issues in the UK, reporting fatalities, and open discussion on priorities for the future. 

The workshop was very well attended and was standing room only.  Most of the manufacturers, training agencies, governmental and military CCR players were present.  Well-established end users and instructors rounded out the remainder of the attendees.  A half hour of presentations was followed by open mic discussion with the audience.  Three central themes developed.  The attendees agreed that a central unbiased resource is needed to assist public safety diving organizations when they are faced with a rebreather fatality to ensure chain of evidence and proper preservation of the rebreather for investigation.  Better reporting and collection of fatal and non-fatal incidences would be aided by DAN’s efforts to clarify reporting efforts.  Also, a need for all involved in rebreather diving to come together to work toward education of the general diving public related to the perceived safety of rebreathers.  Resources from the manufacturers to help assist in dealing with units when they are involved in fatalities was discussed. 

This meeting was the first step in preparation for the upcoming technical diving conference DAN will be hosting in January of 2008.