AIDA Introduces First Aid Course Designed for Freedivers

Published: 27/08/2019

AIDA is pleased to announce the launch of the FEMR (Freediving Emergency Medical Responder) course, a new first aid course that includes a special emphasis on freediving-related medicine. While traditional first aid/CPR courses contain useful information for daily medical incidents such as basic first aid, CPR, and AED use, they do not include sufficient material on specific freediving-related injuries that can occur whilst training. AIDA Education Officer Brian Crossland realized the importance of this and decided to make a change.

Brian first had the idea of creating a freediving-specific first aid course in January of 2018. “I had attended many first aid courses that were just a tick in the box exercise and had no real useful information. If our instructors had to attend a first aid course, I wanted it to be a useful one,” he stated. After attending a dive medic course run by Chantelle Newman, Brian approached her and asked her to collaborate on a first aid course that is specifically for freedivers.

Chantelle, founder and publisher of “The Diver Medic,” member of the Women Diver’s Hall of Fame 2016, and member of the Explorers Club, channeled her EMS background and 34 years of SCUBA experience to create the FEMR course. “I love the science behind freediving and how the body is pushed to its limits and how it recovers after a deep dive,” Chantelle stated. Along with Brian Crossland and Dr. Oleg Melikhov, Chantelle put together a first aid course for freedivers. Divers Alert Network also contributed to the course materials, in addition to information gathered from multiple scientific papers written by professors in diving medicine.

The FEMR course differs from traditional first aid courses by introducing the pathophysiology of illnesses and injuries, with an emphasis on freediving-related injuries such as barotrauma, squeezes, lung injuries, hypoxia, narcosis, decompression illness, immersion pulmonary edema (IPE/IPO), and ear injuries and treatment. Participants will also learn how to examine the ear with the use of an otoscope, how to use two airway adjuncts: OPAs (oropharangeal airways) and NPAs (nasopharyngeal airways) and learn how to activate a diver’s insurance plan and ensure successful emergency treatment of the diver. Participants will take the theory in person or online, and then go through practical elements and learn skills such as taking full vital signs, including blood pressure and pulse oximetry, while also treating non-freediving related trauma injuries and medical illnesses. 

The FEMR course is a must for freediving instructors who are teaching new and already-qualified students. Along with more in-depth information and practical elements that are centered around freediving, AIDA also created an online training platform with a discussion section that allows both FEMR students and instructors to ask questions, which will be answered by medical professionals.

Freediving as a sport is still quite young, so the freediving section of the FEMR course will continuously be updated to include more information as new research papers centered around freediving get published.

The first FEMR Instructor courses will be held in Shanghai, China from October 22 - October 26 and in Seoul, Korea from October 29 - November 2. For more information and to reserve your place, contact

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