It is getting colder and wintery in the Northern hemisphere. Now's probably a good time to rehash your basic training.
What to do:
Hold the regulator second stage loosely in your mouth, allowing excess air to escape. If possible, angle your head slightly to avoid bubbles in front of your eyes.
- Avoid taking a “test” breath from your regulator in temperatures near freezing. The moisture in the atmosphere and your breath can easily cause icing in the second stage.
- Avoid pressing the purge button.
- Avoid heavy breathing
- Avoid adding air to your BC in small bursts
- Avoid using your regulator for secondary use. While filling up a safety sausage, use your exhaust valve, and if you need to fill a lift bag in cold water, consider using a spare tank for that purpose.
When a regulator suddenly free-flows, it can be very startling as there is a sudden roar of bubbles and visibility is reduced.
The main strategy is to:
- Remain calm: Stop - Think - Act
- If you are confident of breathing from a free flowing regulator do so, but check and prepare alternate sources just in case.
- If an alternate air supply is preferred and available, switch to it.
- Head for the surface.
- If a buddy is available, or you can reach the cylinder valve, switch off the cylinder and slowly switch it back on.
- If you run out of air then the only option is a free ascent, possibly accelerate it by removing the weight belt. Ensure you don’t hold your breath, or the air inside the lungs will expand. ■