Vulcanized rubber with attached gloves and boots make it impossible for anything to move in, or out of this suit. It is used throughout the industry to prevent contamination. The hazmat suit protects the diver while working in nuclear facilities, oil spills and waste treatment plants. It also protects drinking water from contamination by the diver.
DESCO Air Hat
Sometimes called the “DESCO Pot,” this is a free-flow hat. Unlike demand hats, which deliver air only when the diver creates a vacuum with his breath, the free-flow hat has air flowing through it constantly. It also uses a one-way exhaust valve with two successive seals, preventing any leakage.
Air Control Valve
Because the DESCO Air Hat is free flow, the diver does not control his air supply by taking breaths. Rather, airflow is controlled using the Air Control Valve.
Used for buoyancy control, the weight belt holds 8lb lead blocks, and has a brass quick-release buckle. The weight is used to help keep the diver submerged when his lungs expand during natural intake of breath. Weights may be added or subtracted, depending on the buoyancy of the suit, the diver’s body weight, and whether he is diving in salt or fresh water. The required weight for the typical DIT student diving in Puget Sound is 30-40lbs.
5-Point Safety Harness
The diver’s safety harness supports the auxiliary air tank, or bailout bottle, like a backpack. A submersible pressure gauge lets him know how much air is left in the tank.
A dive knife, used to cut free from tangled lines or seaweed, is attached to the harness for easy access.
Open-ended wrenches and spud alignment tool assist divers with underwater construction. These simple tools are attached to the diver’s suit with lanyards; heavy and hydraulic tools are lowered down from the surface.
The diver is supported from the surface through four lines, bound together to form the umbilical: the communication wire, air hose, pneumofathometer hose, and strength member. The pneumo hose measures depth using an air source for calibration, so it doubles as an emergency air source. The strength member, or “lifeline” is a safety rope that attaches to the harness, allowing the diver to be pulled up by his midsection.
Air Inlet and Exhaust Valve
The air inlet for the DESCO air hat allows air to flow from the umbilical or the bailout bottle. The adjustable exhaust vent has two successive seals, preventing any leakage of contaminated material into the hat as gas passes out.
Vulcanized Rubber Suit
This heavy duty, vulcanized rubber suit acts as a barrier between the diver and his environment. It has an airtight zipper, attached boots and gloves (not shown), and a latex neck dam that attaches directly to the DESCO Air Hat, creating a completely encapsulated environment. The diver is protected from radiation, waste, oil, bacteria, microorganisms and other biohazardous materials.