The DAN Recompression Chamber Network

On-site chamber assessments ensure accurate information and provide the ability to provide education and safety awareness ©STEPHEN FRINK

Divers Alert Network (DAN) maintains a global recompression chamber network, which consists of a database of all hyperbaric chambers with the capability and willingness to treat injured divers. The DAN Recompression Chamber Network (RCN) team contacts chambers for regular updates to ensure that we have accurate information so our dive medicine doctors and hotline specialists can make direct contact and triage with almost any facility.   

We also endeavor to collect more details about each chamber to help us know its capabilities, including the following: 

  • location and whether hospital-based or not
  • availability (24/7, office hours, or on-call only)
  • level of on-site medical supervision
  • dive injury treatment protocols offered
  • essential facility equipment, such as redundant air and oxygen supplies
  • necessary safety equipment, such as fire extinguishing systems, alarms, and gas analyzers
  • maintenance program
  • appropriate staff training and certifications
  • willingness to work with the DAN dive medicine team

DAN provides information to organizations such as hospital emergency rooms, the U.S. military, and dive operators and professionals.

Being an RCN member involves no financial arrangements or exclusivity, but we identify primary referral centers in some locations for rapid access and to reduce the possibility of miscommunication.

Two programs associated with the RCN help ensure chamber availability and rapid response. Through its Recompression Chamber Assistance Program (RCAP), DAN provides technical and operational advice and offers on-site safety assessments and training for chambers in essential locations that require our help. These chambers are usually located in remote areas and often rely on dive-related patients for their income and sustainability.

The DAN Preferred Provider Network (PPN) is a group of crucial recompression chamber facilities in important dive areas. These chambers are sufficiently equipped to provide treatments to all divers; critical care capability is not a requirement. We maintain regular communication with these facilities to ensure immediate access to emergency treatment. 

Many recompression chamber facilities can care for only stable and generally ambulatory patients. Part of DAN’s RCN work is locating facilities that are capable of a higher level of care and can accept critically ill divers. Finding critical care in remote areas can be challenging, so we also make sure these facilities can take evacuated divers.

In regions where chamber information is limited, DAN conducts firsthand field assessments to get the essential information. In late 2022 we traveled to Indonesia’s most popular dive regions to conduct safety assessments and training; as a result, we added some suitable facilities to the network.

The assessments and training are generally hands-on, intensive programs that our medical and safety services departments manage together.

We also collaborate and share information with our fellow DAN organizations — including those in Europe, Southern Africa, and Japan — to keep them current on facilities within their different regions, ensuring that our RCN database extends to as much of the dive world as possible. 

Divers can rest assured that in a dive emergency where recompression therapy is the required treatment, DAN can ensure rapid and effective referral to the closest suitable chamber. 

© Alert Diver — Q1 2023