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Old 21st July 2008, 17:05   #1
mempilot
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FFM removal practice gone wrong...

FFM removal skill gone bad...

A little self disclosure here to stress the importance of practice, even for those little used skills. After practicing this complex skill in the pool and feeling confident about it, I jacked it up pretty good on a skills dive. We SCRUBS often do two dives in a day; the first dive being a wreck dive with decompression, and the second dive being a shallow reef drift dive that some of us use for skills practice. Here's the days events...

I had a series of equipment problems yesterday leading up to the dive, and then during the second dive, while 'practicing' a complicated skill, I screwed up and it turned into a thumbed dive for me. I'll explain:

I've had a pesky number 2 AI cell that was getting voted out after about an hour underwater on previous dives. I put all my cells on the Narced @ 90 tester located at Fill Express in Pompano Beach (Thanks go out to Mark for providing this free of charge diagnostics tool!). The number two checked out fine on the test showing a nice linear profile and expected tolerances. I decided to buy a spare for my kit, just in case it crapped out. It would come in handy yesterday. First, I setup and calibrated my head unit the day prior to the dive. All 3 cells calibrated fine, and I packed my kit for yesterdays dive. I turned the unit on after loading it on the boat, and the number two was reading .21 in air. On the ride out, I decided to finish my predive checklist and prebreathe the unit. I switched the injection from manual to a setpoint of .4 and started to breath the loop. The number 2 went to zero. It had completely died. I luckily had the spare, and I completed a cell swap and recalibration during the ride out to the wreck. The new cell performed flawlessly on the dives.

Prior to splash on the first dive, I heard hissing coming from my bailout 1st stage. I had checked the pressure on the tank the night before and not seen any problems with the regulator. Now, it was leaking gas, and it turned out to be a crimped o-ring on a LP hose used for a whip to my BOV. While kitted up and ready to spash, I took the reg off the bottle, removed the hose, inspected the o-ring, and reassembled everything. Problem solved. My compradres were starting to wonder if I was jinxed and whether they should dive around me! :o

You know how things happen in threes? Well, the first dive was spectacular, other than a slight hiccup in stowing the grapnel for drift deco. The second dive would turn out to be a little different for me.

I had planned on doing a FFM removal exercise on the second dive. This is a fairly complex and task loaded event, so practice is important. The Drager has a mouth bite, so even during a flood, the loop stays closed. The only two reasons to ever really remove it and don a half mask are for complete catastrophic flood where vision is hindered, or a caustic cocktail that has contaminated the mask or mouth bite. Here are the steps I briefed prior to splash to my buddy (padipro) and the videographer (netmage).

1. Identify the need to remove mask
2. Bail out to BOV
3. Retrieve spare half mask from pocket
4. Verify offboard tank pressure and deploy 2nd stage regulator/purge
5. Shutoff BOV/nasal reg gas supply from offboard bailout tank
6. Remove FFM
7. 2nd stage in mouth/purge/breathe
8. Don half mask and clear

Well, I f'd up and forgot to do step 5. Guess what happened? I got a massive free flow from both the BOV and nasal second stage in the FFM. I donned the OC second and half mask and finally got the freeflow stopped with the help of padipro. I had lost much of my OC gas supply and ascended with my buddy after giving him the OOA signal and thumbing the dive. Scott deployed his offboard regulator and had it ready to donate if was needed. I surfaced with about 400 psi. Stupid mistake. I'm headed out this afternoon to do the same drill again in 20 fsw instead of 70.

Thanks to Scott for the help! He's a great buddy. Once I was on the boat, he descended again down the drift bouy to join the rest of the group whom I'm sure were either laughing at me or shaking their heads! :o

All in all, the first dive was great and the second dive was a learning experience. Practice makes perfect if it doesn't kill you first!

I posted this here so that those looking to transition to a FFM take the skills and practice needed to be proficient seriously. You don't really need to take a class, but you need to think through the skills and contingencies needed in the event of something goes wrong. Plumbing and familiarity are important, and can mean the difference between lost gas and a fumbled procedure.

Hope this sheds some light, and practice, practice, practice!

Eric

Last edited by mempilot; 21st July 2008 at 17:08..
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Old 21st July 2008, 18:06   #2
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Re: FFM removal practice gone wrong...

Quote: (Originally Posted by mempilot) View Original Post
FFM removal skill gone bad...

A little self disclosure here...
Ya, before the video goes public.

Glad I could help there little buddy. Hopefully everything went a little better today.
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Old 21st July 2008, 18:09   #3
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Re: FFM removal practice gone wrong...

Quote: (Originally Posted by Padipro) View Original Post
Hopefully everything went a little better today.
Waiting for the call to go out on the boat. Karen's doing some training with Oliver off Avid Diver this afternoon. I'm going to tag along and run the scooter/redo the FFM drill.
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Old 21st July 2008, 22:23   #4
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Re: FFM removal practice gone wrong...

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Old 21st July 2008, 22:40   #5
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Re: FFM removal practice gone wrong...

Tim,

If I didn't love ya, I'd sneek into your house after disabling your alarm and phone lines, crawl into your bedroom, stick two HPs in your forehead, one in your chest while you sleep, and then call in the cleaner.


Good stuff brother! You had me laughing all the way through with the music selection and accelerated video. :D

You suck!

Where is the Doc D film? You rushed this to press before the Doc footage? What's wrong with you?

Last edited by mempilot; 21st July 2008 at 22:43..
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Old 21st July 2008, 22:43   #6
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Re: FFM removal practice gone wrong...

Good job Tim. Finally a video camera when it was really needed.

On a serious note - glad it worked out OK for you Eric. Beter luck with the next practice drill.
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Old 22nd July 2008, 00:02   #7
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Re: FFM removal practice gone wrong...

Quote: (Originally Posted by mempilot) View Original Post
Tim,

If I didn't love ya, I'd sneek into your house after disabling your alarm and phone lines, crawl into your bedroom, stick two HPs in your forehead, one in your chest while you sleep, and then call in the cleaner.


Good stuff brother! You had me laughing all the way through with the music selection and accelerated video. :D

You suck!

Where is the Doc D film? You rushed this to press before the Doc footage? What's wrong with you?
And that's why we go to all the trouble of carrying cameras underwater!

: haha:

That footage was definitely better than whatever Tim has on tape from the Doc De Mille!

Glad the situation worked out ok in the end Don! Oops, my bad, I meant Eric!

Tim, you're the man!!!! Nice footage and great job on the editing!!!
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Old 22nd July 2008, 11:27   #8
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Re: FFM removal practice gone wrong...

Hey Eric,

Quite an impressive practice drill!!

Lucky you were in reletively shallow water with that "Bolt" :D:D

It looked like you were more worried about getting your mask on than securing some breathing gas...but maybe that was just the way it looked.

I have to admit I always give myself a real good talking to before I practice removing the FFM. It's one drill that will always give you "Butterflies" before and after it's done!!

Glad it all worked out OK and keep up the good work!!!.

Regards,

Lance
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Old 22nd July 2008, 11:31   #9
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Re: FFM removal practice gone wrong...

Quote: (Originally Posted by Lancer4545) View Original Post
Hey Eric,

Quite an impressive practice drill!!

Lucky you were in reletively shallow water with that "Bolt" :D:D

It looked like you were more worried about getting your mask on than securing some breathing gas...but maybe that was just the way it looked.

I have to admit I always give myself a real good talking to before I practice removing the FFM. It's one drill that will always give you "Butterflies" before and after it's done!!

Glad it all worked out OK and keep up the good work!!!.

Regards,

Lance
It sure was fun for me and stuey watching you the first time you took your off, i's fair to say it was done with a more little finesse though;)
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Old 22nd July 2008, 11:35   #10
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Re: FFM removal practice gone wrong...

Lance,

The video is sped up for comedial effect and it is Tim's answer to Scott and I painting one of his AL40's pink. :D

The noise was unbelievable. Forgeting to isolate the gas source was a stupid mistake that won't be repeated.

Eric




Quote: (Originally Posted by Lancer4545) View Original Post
Hey Eric,

Quite an impressive practice drill!!

Lucky you were in reletively shallow water with that "Bolt" :D:D

It looked like you were more worried about getting your mask on than securing some breathing gas...but maybe that was just the way it looked.

I have to admit I always give myself a real good talking to before I practice removing the FFM. It's one drill that will always give you "Butterflies" before and after it's done!!

Glad it all worked out OK and keep up the good work!!!.

Regards,

Lance
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