If you’ve completed a course with the Professional Association of Diving Instructions (PADI), you’ll be familiar with the following phrase:
Begin With Review And Friend.
This ungrammatical “sentence” is a mnemonic device. When you scuba dive, you always want to do a “buddy check” before you enter the water, to make sure that you and your buddy’s gear is in order. After all, you don’t want to find yourself 20 meters underwater with faulty gear.
B - Check your buoyancy control devices (BCDs) to make sure they inflate and deflate properly.
W - Check that you are each wearing a weight belt and that they are ready for a quick release, if needed.
R - Check the releases on your BCDs. Are they secure? Can you open them quickly, in an emergency, to get the BCD off?
A - Check your and your buddy’s air supplies. Do you each have enough air in the tank for your dive? Do the regulators and alternate air sources work?
F - Final okay. Are you both ready to jump into the water? Do you both have your masks and fins on? Is any equipment dangling about?
Going through the steps of “begin with review and friend” puts me at ease before a dive. It has me feeling confident that I’m ready to dive safely.
Atul Gawanda has written an entire book on the value of checklists, titled The Checklist Manifesto. One vivid example he shares is the use of checklists to increase the survival rates of people who get heart surgery. But you don’t have to be a scuba diver or a heart surgeon for checklists to be handy.
For instance, when I send out these emails once a week, I go through a checklist so I don’t forget to customize the email’s subject line or forget to include an important link.
What checklists could you use to reduce mistakes or minimize risk?
Creating an ungrammatical mnemonic device for it is optional.
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