1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The GUE Valve Drill

Discussion in 'DIR Diving' started by Gareth Burrows, Oct 25, 2010.

  1. Gareth Burrows

    Gareth Burrows Super Moderator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2010
    Messages:
    1,053
    Likes Received:
    473
    This article outlines the process and reasoning behind the GUe approach to a valve drill.

    Process summary

    The basic valve drill involves closing and opening all three posts on a twin set starting with the right post, then the isolator, then the left post.

    Process Details

    1. Signal to your team you are going to perform a valve drill
    2. Wait until your team is in place and then continue
    3. Purge Backup regulator
    4. Shut down the right hand post whilst simultaneously signalling you are manipulating a valve to your team
    5. when the post is shut down, breathe down the regulator until it "locks".
    6. Remove the regulator and replace with your backup regulator
    7. clip off your primary regulator on the right chest D ring
    8. Open the Right post
    9. Unclip the primary regulator and purge it
    10. Remove the backup regulator from your mouth and replace with the primary regulator
    11. Shut down the Isolator whilst simultaneously signalling you are manipulating a valve to your team
    12. When the Valve is closed, Re-open the isolator
    13. Move your torch to your right hand
    14. Shut down the left hand post whilst simultaneously signalling you are manipulating a valve to your team
    15. When the post is closed, purge the backup regulator until it "locks"
    16. Open the left post and purge to confirm it is working
    17. Move the torch to your left hand.
    18. Check the position of your right hand post
    19. Check the position of your isolator
    20. Move the torch to your right hand and check the position of your left post
    21. Signal that your drill is complete

    Looks like a lot of steps, but it really should not take you any more than a minute or so to go through the drill in a nice slow fashion, and I've seen people do it a great deal quicker than this. The trick is to go through the drill slowly and carefully again and again until the movements become muscle memory rather than conscious action. At that point, you can begin to speed up the drill until it becomes both smooth and fast.

    Anatomy of the process

    Now that we understand the steps we have to take in order to complete the drill, let's look at each step in a little more detail and explain some of the reasoning behind it.

    1. Signal to your team you are going to perform a valve drill

    OK, so we are diving in a two or a three. We signal to the rest of the team that we are going to do a drill. This means a clear point at all the other team members indicating "You!" and "You", then pointing at your mask indicating "watch me", and then a turning motion with both hands indicating valve drill, hence "You! Watch Me!" "Do a Valve Drill!". this is critical as the rest of the team need to know what is going on so that they are ready if there is a problem. A problem could be you shutting down both posts and leaving yourself out of gas, or something going wrong with your kit. In either situation they need to be ready to step in, and critically, they need to be doing nothing else but watch so that they are not doing any other drills at this time.

    2. Wait until your team is in place and then continue

    If you are swimming in a line, you need to give your team time to get into a triangle formation all pointing inwards so that they can see you, and see your valves. This is important so that they are in the correct position to donate a long hose if they need to, and so that they can follow your movements on your valves. so have patience and let them get ready before you get going. Once you are all in position, you maintain eye contact with your team. This is done to ensure that firstly, you are keeping your head up during the drill and not getting absorbed in what you are doing, to keep your head up so that you maintain trim, and also so that you maintain situation awareness in case another member of the team has a problem themselves. you are only doing a drill, and need to keep an eye on your team at all times, including when you are doing drills.

    4. Shut down the right hand post whilst simultaneously signalling you are manipulating a valve to your team

    The signal for manipulating a valve is a clear "Attention!" signal, which consists of a controlled side to side motion with your torch beam. this must be a controlled and relatively slow motion, very different from a "I need assistance URGENT" signal which is a very quick motion with the torch. The signal is continued until the valve is closed. The signal should be given so that all other team mates can see it, and if you are diving in a team of three it is important that you do not get caught in the trap of only signalling to one person.

    5. When the post is shut down, breathe down the regulator until it "locks".

    This one creates a little discussion, but there are a couple of reasons why we breathe down the regulator. Firstly, it is a check that we have shut down the correct post and indeed are breathing the correct regulator. Most important, it depressurises the regulator. If A post or hose has a small leak, then turning off the post might leave the hose bubbling for some time. The hose needs to be depressurised in order to stop the bubbles. If the bubbles stop after you depressurise the hose, you have found the leak. It will also allow a team member, in a real situation, to reseat the first stage if necessary. finally, it is continual training against panic when you suck on a regulator and nothing happens. It becomes instinctive after several hundred drills - regulator locks, take it out and replace with a backup. this seems obvious, but what you are removing is the initial "Oh shit!" when the regulator locks.

    6. Remove the regulator and replace with your backup regulator

    The critical word here is "Remove". we do not spit out the regulator and replace it. We remove it with our hand and KEEP it in our hand until we are breathing successfully from another reg. This is so that we do not have to suddenly search for it if the regulator we wish to breathe off fails. It also means we do not have a regulator dangling around. there is a principle in DIR that a regulator is either in our hand, in our mouth, or clipped off. We never leave a regulator hanging as then we do not know exactly where it is. so, in this step, we remove our regulator with our right and then, whilst holding on to that regulator, we place the backup regulator in our mouths.

    7. Clip off your primary regulator on the right chest D ring

    In the last step, we were left in the position of breathing off our left post, and holding the primary regulator in our right hand. Now, we clip off the regulator onto our right chest D ring. This keeps it neatly stowed away whilst we continue our drills and continues with the ethos that we always know where the regulator is. we clip it to the right chest R ring as opposed to the left because we have a policy of not clipping anything across the body. this again is muscle memory. We do not get into habits of clipping across the body because sooner or later we would clip something across the `long hose and trap it.

    8. Open the Right post

    So, with the primary clipped off and breathing off the backup, we now reach back and open up the right post, remembering to keep our eyes at all times on our team. We open the post until it is fully open.

    9. Unclip the primary regulator and purge it

    We now unclip the primary regulator from the right chest D ring and give it a purge. This is to ensure we have turned on the correct regulator and that we are going to get gas from it when we attempt a breathe, which we are shortly to do. Note that we keep hold of the regulator during the purge process and continue to keep hold of it to the next step.

    10. Remove the backup regulator from your mouth and replace with the primary regulator

    As with the earlier step, we remove the backup rather than spitting it out. We now have the backup regulator in our left hand, and the primary regulator in our right hand, so we replace the primary regulator in our mouth and begin to breathe from it. We can now let go of the backup regulator.

    11. Shut down the Isolator whilst simultaneously signalling you are manipulating a valve to your team

    We now close down the isolator valve, and as with the earlier steps, we continue to keep our eyes on our team, and clearly signal with the torch in our left hand. We continue to close down the valve until it is fully closed.

    12. When the Valve is closed, Re-open the isolator

    We do not have a regulator to breathe down with the isolator, so once we have fully closed it, we fully re-open it again. Simple.

    13. Move your torch to your right hand

    Having finished with the right post and isolator, the next post we are going to deal with is the left post. However, we have an issue here because we hold the torch in a Goodman handle in our left hand. Now this is where some smartarse will say “ahh but I can still manipulate the valve with my left hand”, but what that person would also do is send erratic light signals all over the place as they do so, which could easily be misinterpreted as a problem. So, we don’t do that. What we do is switch the torch to our right hand by sliding it out of the Goodman handle, and grasping the torch in our right hand by the barrel of the light head. This means we can hold the torch and continue to give signals with it, and frees up our left hand to manipulate the left post.

    14. Shut down the left hand post whilst simultaneously signalling you are manipulating a valve to your team

    Remembering to keep our eyes on our team, and continually giving a clear side to side attention signal, we now reach back with our left hand and shut down the left post until it is fully closed.

    15. When the post is closed, purge the backup regulator until it "locks"

    Now that the post is closed, we reach to our backup regulator with our left hand, and purge it until it empties. This will depressurise the hose for exactly the reasons we described earlier. Once the regulator has stopped bubbling, we know we have shut down the correct post.

    16. Open the left post

    We can now open the left hand post. We open the valve fully, and then give the backup regulator a purge to ensure it is functioning correctly again.

    17. Move the torch to your left hand

    We now slide our left hand back into the Goodman handle of the torch.

    18-20 – The flow check

    We have essentially finished the valve drill now, but we need to just do a flow check to ensure all posts are back in their correct positions. This is a general DIR policy. Whenever anyone, including yourself, has been manipulating the valves, we do a flow check at the end to ensure all the valves are where they are supposed to be. In the case of the valve drill, all posts should be back in the open position. So we reach back with our right hand and check that the right hand post and the isolator is open. We take the torch in our right hand and check the left hand post is open, and then finally place our left hand back in the Goodman handle and we have completed the flow check.

    21. Signal that your drill is complete

    As the drill is now complete, we give a signal to the rest of the team that we have completed it and are ready to move on to the next person’s drill, or continue with the dive. There are different ways we do this, but the way our team does this is to give a circle with the torch indicating “OK”. The other team members return the signal. This gives the other team members the information that you are happy, but also you are getting a confirmation from them that they are satisfied that you have put all of your valves back where they are supposed to be. If you had made a mistake and left a post closed at any point, they could intercept you at this point and rectify the situation for you.

    And that is my anatomy of the GUE valve drill.

    I would conclude by stating that this is a DRILL. It is intended to build muscle memory. If the bubbles come from the left hand side, would I go for the right post first. No, of course not.

    That would just be silly.
     
    codhead likes this.
  2. Elvis

    Elvis Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2010
    Messages:
    1,360
    Likes Received:
    64
    Do you ever do training dives and just throw shutdown's at your buddy (i.e. "you do a shutdown now!"), or vice verse, to "simulate" a real emergency/get used to being ready to do one at any time?

    What do you do if you don't know which post has a problem (i.e. what sequence would you use in an actual problem)?

    Although I understand this isn't a "Valve Drill" it seems the right place to ask.
     
  3. Outlaw13

    Outlaw13 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2009
    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    0
    If someone in the team spots a gas leak before you are they expected to shutdown for you then let you know or let you know and expect you to shutdown?
     
  4. neilh

    neilh Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    Messages:
    1,664
    Likes Received:
    32
    In reality you would shutdown the post you think has the problem, listen to see if the bubbles stop and if not isolate. By the time you've shut the post down and switched regs the chances are your team are on you and watching and, if you've shut the wrong post down, will tell you to sit tight and sort it for you.

    If the bubbles are only small and not noticed then I'd get in front of the person and let them know what's going on. I wouldn't start shutting down posts first.
     
  5. Gareth Burrows

    Gareth Burrows Super Moderator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2010
    Messages:
    1,053
    Likes Received:
    473
    in a solid team, if there is a serious leak the person would get to their own valve first. However, after they have finished with their first valve I would tell them to hold whilst I diagnosed and resolved the issue. This is common sense because I can see behind their head. They can't.
     
  6. Air-Guzzler

    Air-Guzzler Cannot spel and I cannut delet your post :-)

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    Messages:
    4,680
    Likes Received:
    71
    Only while you mentioned GUE drills ive posted these

    [video=youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-netyt3rkw[/video]

    [video=youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A73rYfEUxRs[/video]


    If you had mentioned ones carryied out poorly then i would have posted one of mine :)
     
  7. Gareth Burrows

    Gareth Burrows Super Moderator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2010
    Messages:
    1,053
    Likes Received:
    473
    That's Brian Allen and Clare Pooley, two of the other GUE instructors in the UK
     
  8. bobdob

    bobdob Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2009
    Messages:
    457
    Likes Received:
    45
    Gareth, do you find that the turning of the valve and doing a side to side signal at the same time is slightly akin to patting your head whilst rubbing your tummy ? I couldn't help notice in the video's that the signalling seemed to be a bit erratic, especially in the second one (I'm not nit picking, just observing).

    Wouldn't similar movements with both hands be easier, i.e. a continual circular OK signal whilst turning the valve ?

    I'll have to give it a go next time I do some drills, that might answer the question for me.
     
  9. Gareth Burrows

    Gareth Burrows Super Moderator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2010
    Messages:
    1,053
    Likes Received:
    473
    you get used to it. The circle is a clear ok signal, which is innapropriate at this point of the drill. What you are looking for here is an attention signal. The idea is that you are manipulating your valves, so things are more likely to go wrong at this point. You could suddenly find yourself with both valves switched off. Anyone that has practiced enough valve drills will admit they have seen this. What you need at that point is an attentive buddy who can donate gas if that happens, or ideally stop you before you do it. So the essence here is very much a signal that says "pay attention" as opposed to "I'm OK".

    you should have jumped in the water with us at the weekend and had a look :)

    G
     
  10. Air-Guzzler

    Air-Guzzler Cannot spel and I cannut delet your post :-)

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    Messages:
    4,680
    Likes Received:
    71
    I think what every body must note is that the clips I had chosen are demonstrations and are slower than normal to allow students to visualize what is the required procedure.
     
  11. bobdob

    bobdob Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2009
    Messages:
    457
    Likes Received:
    45
    Cheers for that, the pertinent point there is "you get used to it". I suppose that's where the muscle memory comes in.

    I'd loved to have jumped in with you at the weekend, but I only had a short time spare while my Old Dear slept off her jet lag. I'll definitely put my name on the list if you show your generosity again and run another session.
     
  12. Gareth Burrows

    Gareth Burrows Super Moderator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2010
    Messages:
    1,053
    Likes Received:
    473
    Had a go in a wetsuit for the first time for a couple of years today - and I'm blaming my waggly fins on that! Someone pointed a camera at me so I did a valve drill to see how it would turn out..

    [video=youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0XWgdcdpnw[/video]
     
  13. jb2cool

    jb2cool Moderator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2008
    Messages:
    3,053
    Likes Received:
    455
    Garf, i think your torch is broken. Besides that you missed the purge in step 16 :tongue:
     
  14. Gareth Burrows

    Gareth Burrows Super Moderator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2010
    Messages:
    1,053
    Likes Received:
    473
    Do I did ! nobody's perfect :)
     
  15. Elvis

    Elvis Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2010
    Messages:
    1,360
    Likes Received:
    64
    Soooooooo much easier in a wetsuit isn't it!!!
     
  16. Gareth Burrows

    Gareth Burrows Super Moderator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2010
    Messages:
    1,053
    Likes Received:
    473
    Actually I found it a LOT harder. You can see I am unstable. My buoyancy is clearly not accurate, and my wins are waggling about. That's because I havent been in a wetsuit for a couple of years and just jumped in and did it. I'd expect it to be a lot smoother in a drysuit.
     
  17. bobdob

    bobdob Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2009
    Messages:
    457
    Likes Received:
    45
    I reckon you had a 5 degree list to port as well :)
    [size=xx-small](I'm discounting the camera being at an angle)[/size]

    Do you normally have all valves fully open, or fully open then turned back a quarter turn? From the video it looked like the former.
     
  18. bottlefish

    bottlefish Super dooper member
    UKD Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    Messages:
    1,771
    Likes Received:
    72
    (From a non GUE/DIR diver ;))

    Modern valves, there is no need to turn back half a turn, so valves should therefore be fully open;

    - You know which way to turn them off (there's only one way a fully open valve will turn!!)
    - You know that your tank is definitely open. I have lost count of the amount of times I have heard of people turning a tank full on, back half a turn, then somebody else turning the same tank fully off and open half a turn, and then get into difficulties when the diver descends and the pressure release from the half open valve isn't sufficient to combat ambiant pressure.

    I teach this to both technical and entry level recreational divers.
     
  19. bobdob

    bobdob Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2009
    Messages:
    457
    Likes Received:
    45
    That's the way I do my valves now for those very reasons, I've always though the "back a tad" method probably stems from the mists of time, rather like the reverse profile directives.

    When I started on twinset's I did follow the "back a tad" method, but found out pretty soon that something as simple as "righty tighty, lefty loosey" gets confusing when stressed out in a cold, dark puddle.
     
  20. Major Clanger

    Major Clanger P-Plated Meg Diver

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2010
    Messages:
    3,312
    Likes Received:
    323
    I'm happy to fully open my own valves and leave them like that on my own gear; less so on hired cylinders overseas. Several times on a recent trip, cylinder valves stuck in the open position and needed tools to shut them.
     

Share This Page

Users found this page by searching for:

  1. scuba valve drills

  • About Us

    Our UKDivers community has been around for many years and prides itself on offering unbiased, helpful discussion among people of all disciplines and abilities. We are working every day to make sure our community is one of the best and friendliest around.
  • Support us!

    The management works very hard to make sure the community continues to run reliably. Care to support us? All donations go to the running costs of the forum: hosting charges, software maintenance, etc. We'd really appreciate it!

    Choose option:  

    UKD Username: