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Time Again for Dive Safety Classes

By: John Chandler

Date Posted: 2001-03-30

The diving season is rapidly approaching. Many of the dive shops are getting ready for their Spring Sales. Tsunami Gear is already offering divers the opportunity to have the BCDs and Regulators checked out for FREE throughout the month of March. Tsunami Gear will also be kicking off their May Dive Equipment Manufacturer Show in the parking lot adjacent to their Main Store on Foster over Mother's Day Weekend so you can see that many great things are soon to happen for divers here on Okinawa. Kadena Marina is hosting the awards for their Underwater Photography Contest at 4pm on March 31st at Kadena Marina. These photos should make everyone want to dive back in so come out and support your local shutterbug on Saturday too!

But for me I am most looking forward to Thursday Evening, the 29th of March, and then again on Thursday the 26th of April when the 18th Physiological Training Flight on Kadena Air Base presents their monthly Dive Safety Awareness Classes for any and all divers here on Okinawa with a desire to improve their knowledge about preventing Decompression Sickness. It certainly appears from some recent feedback that I would benefit from their classes and a review. Captain Jim Allen says that their experts will present a detailed lecture about the Signs and Symptoms of Decompression Illness and how the dreaded Air Gas Embolism can occur during ascent. Their focus is for divers to prevent both of these maladies through better and more specific education than what they may have already received, or forgotten. Visitors to the "Chamber" will then be given a full tour of the recompression chamber. I am convinced that after our recent debates on what is "mild" and what is "severe" this a perfect time for me to head back to the chamber for a comprehensive review. In the interest of safety you can never know too much and we should all be grateful to the Officers and Airmen at the 18th PTF for sponsoring this monthly event.

While speaking with Captain Jim Allan at the 18th PTF he tells me that the class will begin at 6 pm and is held at Building 754 on Kadena AB. This is really not that hard to find. Coming in Kadena Gate One from Highway 58 follow the main road through three stoplights. At your fourth stoplight you will be next to the Main Fire Station. It is somewhat of a landmark and it is easy to spot since there is always Fire Equipment parked out front. Turn left here, and then turn right at your first street, looking for Building 754. Captain Allan is prepared to host up to 20 folks every month so it is best if you give him, or any of the professionals at the 18th PTF, a call at 634-1967 and get your seat reserved

Other divers, both Japanese and foreign nationals residing here on Okinawa that do not have access to the Kadena Chamber should know that they can get similar recompression support here on Okinawa by calling the two recompression chambers off base at the Ryukyu

University hospital (call 098 895 3331) and ask for ER room or call the Naha central hospital (at 098 833 9948) and ask them for their emergency room. These are great numbers for all divers to keep in their log books in case of emergency.

While we all know the joys of diving on Okinawa, and that certainly has been my focus here in Japan Update for more than a year now. It is vital that we respect the inherent dangers of SCUBA diving. Education, such as this from the 18th PTF, reminds us, in a professional manner, of the risks we must manage on every dive. With educated and well-trained risk management we can better enjoy this year's diving season. Safety through Training should be more than just a logo for everyone. The 18th PTF is spreading the red carpet for all divers inviting us to improve our knowledge and prepare ourselves for the fun of diving.

Look forward to seeing everyone at Kadena on Thursday Evening the 29th of March at 6 pm, or again on the 26th of April. Please call soon to get your reservation (634-1967). I will be the bald guy asking questions about "severity" and Table 6. See you there and have a safe diving weekend. For more information on this class and up to date weather forecasts that may effect diving on Okinawa click on to H2Okinawa.

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