Safety and Security
Ensuring your safety at ReefDoctor is our top priority. There have been no serious incidents at ReefDoctor during the decade it has been operating in Madagascar. Whilst our project site is in a semi-remote location, hospital care is readily available in Toliara which can accessed within an hour. We focus heavily on accident prevention; we provide safety information, training and advice to all research assistants and staff when they arrive.
We have conducted a full risk assessment of our Ifaty project site and created rules and procedures designed to promote safety in all aspects of our daily life.
Due to our location we have relatively easy access to the medical care available in Toliara. We keep extensive medical supplies on site and all of our staff are trained in the provision of emergency first aid.
All of our diving is conducted under the strict guidelines laid down by PADI International with additional rules and regulations created by us for operating in our area. All rules and regulations are enforced at all times by the dive officers and boatman. A copy of our dive regulations is given to each person entering the ReefDoctor camp, and training in our emergency procedures is completed before diving commences. All scuba regulators are serviced annually in the UK. Our dive tanks are inspected by qualified staff on site using the most advanced visual inspection techniques available, visual cylinder inspection plus eddy current testing. In fact, we are the only NGO in Madagascar with this equipment.
Oxygen and first aid equipment is taken on every dive with emergency drill practices conducted monthly for staff and volunteers. We keep a 75L oxygen cylinder on camp and have two 10L tanks for use on each of our dive boats.
Working in a remote location means that we need to ensure that when help is needed we can contact the right people quickly. For communications we keep the following charged and ready for emergency use at all times:
• VHF radios, one base station in camp and one on each dive boat;
• two mobile phones, one in camp and one in each boat;
• an emergency phone in camp.
On site security
ReefDoctor’s buildings and facilities are enclosed within a secure compound which is guarded at night by three local security personnel.
For our emergency plan and evacuation procedures, we liaise with the Divers Alert Network (DAN) in Europe and South Africa. Our evacuation plan is reviewed monthly to ensure that information is correct and training is up-to-date. All volunteers and staff receive training with the plan on arrival.
All ReefDoctor staff and volunteers must have two forms of insurance, basic travel insurance and specific diving insurance. We recommend that you take out Divers Alert Network (DAN) insurance.