On 18 May 2012 Dr Drew Richardson, President & CEO PADI Worldwide, opened Rebreather Forum 3 in Orlando, USA.
Over the course of the following three days 400 experts, manufacturers, instructors, training agencies and divers from around the world gathered to improve understanding, with the hope that this would translate to improved safety across the board.
We can always do things better. So it is a rationality check to see if we can make things safer.
Drew Richardson explained that the major themes of Rebreather Forum 3 (RF3) would be innovation, technology, exploration, adventure, and safety. "This is a safety meeting, a state-of-the-art meeting, and a planning meeting. We will review the collective experience of all user groups, exchange ideas, examine equipment, and refresh our thinking since Rebreather Forum 2 (RF2) in 1996."
The three day programme was divided into sessions to cover different aspects of rebreathers. Topics up for discussion included;
- Hazard Analysis and Human Factors
- CO2 Scrubber Technology
- CO2 Sensors
- O2 Sensors and O2 Control
- Pre-Market Testing
- Post-Market Monitoring
- Post-Incident Testing
- Semi-Closed Systems
- Operations and Training
Eight years on, we have a number of divers diving CCRs who were unable to attend RF3, or indeed have learned to dive rebreathers since RF3. It therefore makes sense on the eighth anniversary to republish what was discussed at the Orlando meeting to help keep divers safe.
Drew Richardson confirmed the goals and objectives of Rebreather Forum 3.
The goals of RF3 were to:
- further rebreather diving safety
- reduce incidents among all rebreather diver groups
- advance the state of the art and use of the technology
- improve human factors in rebreather diving
- expand access to rebreathers among the various diver groups as appropriate
- provide a common information foundation for the rebreather diving community.
The objectives of RF3 were:
- Establish the state of the art, practice, experience, and knowledge such that the culture of rebreather diving might be beneficially changed. What are the specific factors that cause problems, and how might they be prevented?
- Based on collective experience, unbiased reason, and common sense, what changes might be proposed to avoid problems and take advantage of identified safety enhancements?
- How might what was learned in each session be integrated to work together as a whole?
- Publish proceedings describing the state of practice for rebreather technologies, and identify the most common causes of rebreather incidents, explaining the technical, training, and operational characteristics that do or could reduce rebreather incidents for user groups.