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Ontario Underwater Council




Mission: to promote the sport of scuba diving in Ontario through safety, advocacy,
cultural & environmental awareness
, self-governance.....and fun!

Chambers in Ontario


HYPERBARIC FACILITIES AND SCUBA DIVING-RELATED EMERGENCY SERVICES IN ONTARIO

1 800 668 4357 For emergencies only

In the Province of Ontario, scuba-diving emergencies (only) may be referred to the Ontario CritiCall Program at 1-800-668-4357.

CritiCall is a hospital-based referral program for physicians who are treating seriously or critically ill patients, however, the Program makes exceptions for scuba-diving related emergencies.

CritiCall call takers have the resources to assist with scuba-diving emergencies and can direct scuba-diving-related patients (if necessary) to the closest, immediately available Ontario hyperbaric facility (NOTE: Not all hyperbaric facilities are always immediately available!).

CritiCall is also set up to handle calls from DAN-member scuba divers.

Should the need to use a chamber arise the Provincial Ambulance Service should be able to co-ordinate the necessary arrangements for referring the victim to the nearest hyperbaric chamber, and verifying that the chamber is accessible, available and staffed. The phone number for an ambulance is 911 for most of Ontario but there are exceptions and you should check the number of the area in which you are diving or check with the local Ontario Underwater Council member (see members section for information).

Hyperbaric chambers in Ontario are located in Toronto, Hamilton, Ottawa and Tobermory

Remember that Divers Alert Network is always a great resource!

 

Recompression Chamber Locations

Why DAN Doesn't Provide Chamber Location Information

DAN frequently consults on the care, transport and hyperbaric treatment of injured divers, but does not provide chamber location information. This is an effort to get divers with a suspected Decompression Illness into hospital care. In the past, divers would often drive past legitimate healthcare facilities to get to a recompression chamber. Even when divers surface with clear symptoms of an arterial gas embolism, the treatment of choice is the local emergency service and hospital. Your best option is to use existing emergency services for an injured diver.

The reasons:

  • Hospitals and urgent care facilities have an unlimited supply of oxygen, intravenous fluids and medications.
  • A physician/emergency care provider needs to rule out other illness such as pneumothorax (collapsed lung), myocardial infarction (heart attack), and neurological and musculoskeletal injuries with symptoms similar to DCI.
  • An injured patient needs to be stabilized before and during transport, and should be transferred under medical supervision.
  • Transporting a diver without a proper evaluation may adversely affect the diver's health and treatment outcome.
  • A chamber's operational status can change. Chambers may close for scheduled maintenance, staff vacation, or a limited staff because of a high daytime patient treatment load. The chamber you are driving to may not be available. Prior notification from an evaluating facility is usually necessary to begin the call-in procedure to staff a hyperbaric treatment. Finally, most hyperbaric facilities have regular daytime business hours and are not staffed in the evenings and on weekends. In fact, some chamber facilities choose not to staff their unit after hours and do not wish to treat divers. Most cases of decompression sickness report for evaluation after normal business hours.

If you suspect a diver has a dive-related injury and needs evaluation, you should safely:

  • Monitor Airway, Breathing, Circulation.
  • Provide 100 percent oxygen if you are a trained oxygen provider.
  • Call the local EMS for transport or assist in the transport of the injured diver to medical care.
  • Call the DAN Emergency number 919 684 9111 or the DAN Information Line at (919) 684-2948 for consult and advice.

If you are uncertain about symptoms which occur hours or days after diving, and there is no emergency, or you wish to ask questions about the signs and symptoms of decompression illness, contact the DAN Information Line at (919) 684-2948 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday.

 




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