ness books published. This, along with repetitive scenario-based drills, will put you in a positive mindset that you can
accomplish any complicated task. You will fall back on muscle
memory and remember that you’ve done this before successfully. Having a positive attitude is vital for the well-being of
your divers. Negativity could be the driving factor on whether
you succeed or not. There is NO room for negativity on your
dive team; it is an addictive cancer and should be eliminated.
4. Arousal control: Used by pro athletes, arousal control is key to
mental preparedness training and being able to perform under
stress. To understand it, you have to know that stress helps us
survive. As mentioned before, when we perceive stress, we go
into fight or flight mode. Our attention gets highly focused,
our breathing increases, and our heart rates increase. However,
there can be too much stress that causes performance to suffer.
Athletes use arousal control to control the way they perform
in front of large, screaming crowds and under the pressure
of the game. The military uses it during training to teach the
soldier to focus under fire. Our divers could use it to calm
themselves in an entanglement situation or the emotion building up to the dive, no matter the circumstance. It can train the
diver to understand how sights, sounds, and surroundings can
affect the way we do business outside the training zone. Being
able to react to the cold, heat, nighttime, and the affections
shown by the drowning subject’s loved ones can cause us to be
mentally affected. Have a plan, practice it, and only focus on
those things you can control.
PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE
Our industry is packed full of tough people who are ready to
splash at the drop of the tones, all with many different levels of
certification and experience, but we should all be on the same
page with mental preparedness for the environments in which we
operate. Train your divers in a safe and controlled environment,
with instructors in the water, responding to single, easy problems
to start and moving slowly to multiple complex problems. Training
with an accredited dive training agency on public safety diver sur-
vival can increase the exposure and mental preparedness your div-
ers may need for a more successful outcome in a stressful situation.
Check with your local department on stress and mental health
programs. Mental wellness and training should be an ongoing
endeavor. We can also continue to give our divers support in and
out of the water with peer support teams and mentors who handle
post-traumatic stress disorder. These unique groups should be con-
sidered in our dive training, operations, and after action reviews.
Keep training, keep diving, and keep each other safe both
mentally and physically.
Scott Huff is a 17-year veteran of the fire service and a lieutenant with the
Indianapolis (IN) Fire Department (IFD), Engine 7. He is an active certified PSD
diver and instructor for the IFD. Huff was the dive commander from 2009 to
2015. Huff has certification through DRI, PADI, and SSI and is a public safety
scuba instructor, dive rescue trainer, and corporate trainer for Dive Rescue
International. He travels the United States presenting PSD topics and hands-on
Left: Mental preparedness is a way of getting your divers’ minds ready to cope with stress during a survival situation and to be successful. Right: We can continue to give
our divers support in and out of the water with peer support teams and mentors who handle post-traumatic stress disorder.