The idea for the course started with an email from Lee Griffiths from London hyperbaric Medicine
Francois Burman, Director from DAN Southern Africa and main assessor from the DAN RCAP
team, asking him a few questions on chamber windows. With that, Francois came up with the idea
that he could run a course on hyperbaric windows in London and that he could get Rob Sheffield
bkrage from International Atmo involved. Lee thought it was a great idea but as it was going to involve people from all over Europe he suggested to add another full day committed to hyperbaric safety. Lee managed to get Roly Gough-Allen and Steve McKenna on board as they had many more contacts within the UK and Europe. As the idea started to take shape Lee needed a main sponsor for the course. As nobody expressed a wish to personally make money from it he came up with the idea of asking DAN if they would like to be involved.
Francois Burman said: "RCAPP has allowed DAN the opportunity of assessing the common needs of many of the treatment facilities that we have developed relationships with. Understanding, inspecting and maintaining viewports is something that every facility needs to do, and we have had a rare opportunity to empower chamber owners to take care of this in a very economical and self-empowering way."
25 Student coming from the UK, Curacao, Serbia, the Netherlands, Italy, Poland, Morocco, Cyprus and Irian Jaya participated in the course and are now able to check Acrylic Viewports. They are the first in Europe that are able to provide such a service to their own or other hyperbaric facilities.
Students agreed that both the Acrylic window inspection aspects, presented by Francois Burman and Rob Sheffield, as well as the general hyperbaric safety issues, presented by Francois, Rob, Roly, Steve and Lee where well presented and very important for safe chamber operations.
During the hands on training, students had the opportunity to inspect several acrylic windows and were taught how to maintain and service them.
The participants had the opportunity to see and examine the different types of damage and were taught how to remove the damage (depending from the type and severity of it). It became clear that
it is extremely important to know how an acrylic window was or can be damaged and it is crucial to decide when the damage is of such a that kind that a viewport should be replaced or to decide when and how the acrylic window can be repaired.
Lee Griffiths from London Hyperbaric Medicine stated: “These types of programs are extremely important as they also provide a structured way to educate hyperbaric chamber users. Many divers at one time or another will seek to dive in idyllic tropical areas that may be, by their very nature, remote. These programs help educate these chamber operators in critical areas allowing them to provide the important service they do to injured divers whilst operating as safely as possible. It's an unseen service that DAN provides that injured divers will automatically take for granted. Knowing that the chamber they are in is safe and the staff are properly trained.”
Rob Sheffield, Director of education at International Atmo added to Lee’s words: “International ATMO was first in the United States to offer hyperbaric chamber safety courses and training on hyperbaric chamber acrylic windows. The recent course in London is important because it makes this specialty training accessible to hyperbaric facilities in Europe. The partnership between International ATMO and DAN made this possible. We are honored to share in DAN’s mission of helping divers by supporting the recompression chamber facilities that treat them”.
This course was the first step in the second phase of DAN Europe’s RCAPP program. This unique service provided by DAN to the Hyperbaric facilities makes sure that divers who need to be recompressed can be sure they will get treated in the best possible conditions.