An Introduction to Divers Alert Network
DAN is a unique organization dedicated to safety, education and research in the scuba diving community
Founded in 1980 The Divers Alert Network (DAN) is located at Duke University Medical Centre in the United States. Of note was the introduction of a special 24-hour Emergency Hotline. This Hotline put the diver in contact with a Diving Physician, usually within a matter of minutes. And so was a massive help in the treatment of underwater diving accidents by providing "on-the-spot" directions to injured divers. In addition to the Emergency Medical personnel who care for them.
In order to fund its ongoing existence Divers Alert Network formed a Membership program. The initial purpose of the Membership Program was to provide divers with a Diving Accident Manual and regular Newsletter. This newsletter has now become a quarterly magazine called "Alert Diver" which deals with various issues of diving safety. And as DAN grew, it then expanded its operations to offer a free evacuation service to DAN Members. These included the availability of "Diving Insurance" and a variety of similar services.
DAN also introduced a highly effective and successful DAN Oxygen Provider Course.
Divers Alert Network also performs another vital function: the collection and analysis of diving accidents and diving fatalities data. The data can then be used to improve our understanding of the causes of diving accidents. The results are then made available to Scuba Diving Agencies and Government bodies.
DAN International Offices and DAN Asia-Pacific
The DAN organization now has independent regional organizations in North America, Europe, Japan, Asia-Pacific and Southern Africa. Thus it was in 1984 that DAN Asia-Pacific established itself in Melbourne, Australia. Since then, DAN AP has worked hard to improve dive safety education, accident prevention and accident management within the Asia Pacific Region.
As mentioned, Divers Alert Network relies on Membership Due, product sales, and supporters within the dive industry for funding. This in turn allows DAN to provide the high level of service the dive community has become used to. The work of the Divers Alert Network is strongly supported within the recreational diving community, and is evident by Membership numbers.
DAN Membership currently is around 250,000 divers worldwide, making it the largest diving organization in the world.
Diver Alert Network Services include:
- The provision of a world class Membership Program. This includes a valuable range of Travel Assist benefits and Dive Injury (Treatment) Insurance policies. There is also the Alert Diver magazine. This publication therefore aims to keep recreational divers up-to-date and informed about current dive health and safety issues.
- Provision of funding for 24-Hour Diving Emergency Hotlines throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
- First aid and Oxygen Provider Courses for the diving public, as well as the workplace and home environments.
- DAN conducts educational seminars. This in an effort to refresh the safety skills of divers. In addition to giving the latest information on diving health and safety.
- Conducting Research into factors such as repetitive dives and flying after diving. This is to improve the understanding and safety of recreational diving and to facilitate the development of safe dive tables and computers.
- Collecting, analyzing and creating a publication of data on diving accidents and fatalities. This is with the goal of improving the understanding of the causes of such accidents and to develop better treatment methods.
- Providing support to the diving and dive medical community through the Recompression Chamber Assistance Program. For example, providing support for the establishment of recompression facilities in PNG, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands.
- In addition, DAN periodically donates oxygen equipment and training to dive locations to improve dive safety within the region.
- DAN Asia-Pacific has set up representatives throughout the region in order to improve the availability of treatment and training. This is to both residents and visitors to those countries, e.g. Thailand, Korea and Hong Kong.
- Training the dive industry in accident management. Thus easing the availability of first aid equipment and facilities throughout the region.