Sport vs PSD ice diving

Ice_DivingIn sport ice diving the ice is thick enough to support divers and tenders.
They can walk to their pre-cut holes. Back up divers can sit on chairs on
the ice. They can shovel a star pattern in the snow around the primary hole.
They bring warm water buckets to manage free flowing regulators. Tenders
stand or sit on the ice. They move at a leisurely pace setting up their
staging area, and moving to their dive hole.

That has nothing to do with PSD ice diving. If a child fell through the ice,
or even an adult, then divers cannot walk, crawl, kneel, or even sit on the
ice ? especially near the victim?s hole. If we are called to an ice diving
operation, what does that tell us about the ice? It is too thin and weak to
support the weight of the victim(s) who fell through.

That means PSD ice dive training should not allow anyone but the instructors
to walk, kneel, crawl, or sit on the ice. If students are allowed to walk,
crawl, kneel or sit on the ice, they are not being trained for the real
world. The real world is divers and tenders might crash through the ice even
if they remain stretched out in a prone position

PSD ice diving means using ice rescue sleds with pulley systems attached to
the primary tenders to move across the ice to get to a dive hole. A dive
hole can be where the tender breaks through the ice. There is no reason to
work to get to the victim?s hole. Actually ? the dive angle is far better if
the dive hole is about 50 feet from the victim?s hole. Remember ? you need a
diver?s tether line to be a minimum of 1 ½ times the depth for a diver to
understand back, front, left, right.

With tender direction, divers can easily and rapidly spider in a supine
position under the ice roof from the dive hole to the victim?s hole. They
can travel 75 feet in less than a minute ? a straight shot to the victim?s
hole ? if they were properly trained how to do so, and if they use a left
right signal system. This cannot be done with a change direction signal
system. It also requires marked and measured line ? no knots in the line.

From time on scene, a team should be able to pick up a baby mannequin in a
hole 100 fee from shore and bring it gently back to shore in under 15
minutes. The primary diver dresses with a harness and the ice pulley system
and travels out on the sled until he crashes through the ice. Then he
becomes a human ice screw. The backup tender comes out next on the sled with
shore support doing all the work. The backup tender, the back up diver, the
primary diver and even the 90% diver are all connected into the pulley ?
sled system at all times when on the ice. Everyone can easily and rapidly be
pulled home by shore.

The back up diver comes out third. They could be working from the hole or
laying on the ice depending on the ice strength. The primary diver comes out
next, is checked, and then spiders to the victim?s hole. The 90% diver waits
on the sled to be ready to deploy if the backup is deployed. The recovered
victim is returned to the dive hole, placed on the sled and taken back by
the backup tender. The remaining personnel are taken back to shore in the
revere order they came out. All stay horizontal when they reach shore, they
are stripped of their gear and checked out before being allowed to stand.
All this in under 15 minutes.

This can be done with ½ inch of ice. It can even be done when the ice was
all broken up by would-be rescuers. This is described in Ice Diving
Operations. Pennwell Publishing (Fire Engineering). The article below is
from our last class. The people standing are the instructors. All the
students are laying on the ice or are in the water. If regulators or masks
freeze up and freeflow, students are taught how to manage them right there
on the ice with no tools other than their breath and the water. Profile
sheets (slates) are kept on the primary diver?s movements (locastions) as
he/she searches using Designated Area Diving. The primary diver?s breathing
rate is checked for a minute and documented every five minutes. They run
many contingency drills finding a stick we place a half foot or so below the
ice roof to simulate a diver disconnect situation they typically find it in
less than a minute because the last known location of the disconnected diver
is documented on the profile sheet, which allows the tender to direct the
backup diver right to the disconnected diver (the stick).

When you do ice diving drills, don?t walk on the ice, don?t kneel, crawl or
sit. Train for the real world. And the real world can be ½ inch of ice or
broken up ice.

Stay safe by staying thoughtful,


Author: Andrea Zaferes

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