DAN Oxygen First Aid for Scuba-diving injuries

DAN Oxygen First Aid

Every diver is taught that the standard first aid for a scuba injury is Oxygen First Aid.   In the DAN Oxygen First Aid for Scuba diving injuries course, you’ll practice several skills and review DCI, decompression illness.


DAN First aid supplies including DAN Oxygen kit, bag valve mask, AED, pocketmask and other training aids.

Let’s take a look at some of the Oxygen First Aid skills you’ll practice:

  • Oxygen equipment assembly, disassembly and care.   This is very much like a scuba system, with a cylinder, regulator and delivery system.   There are some Oxygen specifics that we cover, though, like the pin-indexing system and oxygen washers.
  • Providing care to an injured diver with a demand-valve regulator.   This is the most efficient way to deliver oxygen, since the demand-valve only delivers oxygen when the diver inhales.   The diver inspires almost 100% oxygen.
  • Providing care to an injured diver with a non-rebreather mask.    As the name indicates, this mask doesn’t allow the diver to re-breathe what he exhaled.  The diver typically inspires 90-100% oxygen with a non-rebreather mask.
  • Providing care to two injured divers at the same time: one with a demand valve and the other with a non-rebreather mask.
  • Providing care to an injured, non-breathing diver using a pocket mask and supplemental oxygen.   Adding oxygen to your resuscitation efforts can really help an injured diver.   In this case, though, if you are alone: activate your emergency plan and call for help, then initiate primary care (CPR).    If you’re helping another provider or there is someone there to help you, then you can add supplemental oxygen.   When we get into more advanced medical skills, emergency treatment becomes a team sport.

You’ll review the signs and symptoms of Decompression Illness (DCI).   DCI is an umbrella term for Decompression Sickness(DCS) and Arterial Gas Embolism(AGE).   Why?  Simple:  the first aid treatment is the same, so we don’t need to spend time figuring out which problem is occurring.


The DAN Oxygen First Aid course can be taught a few different ways.  I prefer the independent study option using DAN’s online presentations.   After that, we meet and practice skills.   Of course,  there is always the traditional option of a lecture.

Prerequisites:   current CPR/First Aid training (within the last 24 months)


Update note:

DAN has revised their Oxygen First Aid course to encompass both the basic skills listed above and the advanced skills from the DAN Advanced Oxygen First Aid program.   Once the new materials are released, I’ll revise the content above.  [Expected by the end of Q1 2012.]

When you complete the DAN Oxygen First Aid for Scuba Diving Injuries with me, you’ll also receive a PADI Distinctive Specialty for the course, which can count towards your PADI Master Scuba Diver rating.

DAN Oxygen First Aid is a prerequisite for the DAN On-Site Neurological Assessment for Divers.   Have a look at the cool stuff we do in that class!