Decompression & Safety in High Risk Environments

Scholar Report

2018 Advanced Dive Training Grant - Technical 

Sponsored by WDHOF

Decompression & Safety in High Risk Environments

By Payal Razdan

I am a doctoral student at Université Laval in Québec studying the impact of extreme environments on physiological adaptation, human performance, and diving safety. Extreme environments, particularly those involving pressure changes, are composed of a myriad of factors that may induce decompression stress. I am exploring the physiological, molecular, and genetic mechanisms that serve to protect the body from these environmental insults. My work primarily focuses on the relationship between physical activity and decompression stress. While my objective is to impact diver behavior in order to reduce the risks associated with decompression, I am especially interested in high-risk, operational environments (e.g. military, scientific, and exploratory diving). 

I was grateful to be able to apply my 2018 WDHOF advanced training grant towards decompression procedures training with Nathalie Lasselin. The course provided guidance on safe decompression planning. In-water training provided a practical understanding of how environmental stresses can be compounded to alter the severity of decompression stress and the risk of decompression sickness. These skills facilitated the process of operationalizing academic and theoretical education. Concepts learned helped to clarify and better define my research objectives. Nathalie and Marie-Josee, (aka magic fixer of all things diving), introduced me to different gear arrangements, efficient equipment problem solving, and new technology. The course also became an impromptu French-for-divers 101course, upping my Francophone game. In addition, it was a critical step in allowing me to advance into trimix diving.

Partial funds were also applied towards much-needed, high-quality undergarments from Weezle, located in the UK. The bright yellow, high-viz garment is excellent for ensuring one can be seen on the ice and snow, (perhaps even from space). They also provide the cozy warmth essential for diving under the ice. Additionally, the support and service provided by Paul and Hilary were exceptional. The WDHOF advanced training grant was a blessing in many ways. Most importantly, it was an injection of encouragement as I continue to push forward in my diving career.