Well, the short answer is it’s the beginning of professional leadership level in public safety diving. Perhaps comparable to the divemaster level for recreational diving. The reality is, however, that it is much more than that. It’s much more than being a dive leader or having excellent dive skills.
Let’s look at being an ERDI Supervisor in two different aspects, training and operations.
Becoming an ERDI Supervisor entails completing the ERDI Supervisor Course, which consists of not only academic topics that include interviewing techniques, interaction with victim families/media/bystanders, NF guidelines and interagency operations, but also places a strong emphasis on watermanship skills, leadership skills and of course, public safety diving skills. It also serves as a foundation and a prerequisite to becoming an ERDI Instructor.
Certainly an ERDI Supervisor is one with excellent and strong dive skills as a public safety diver, skills that have been honed by experience and training. The ERDI Supervisor, in addition to being able to assist ERDI Instructors during courses, may very well supervise training activities of the dive team, following the team’s SOP. In previous ERDI eNews, we’ve discussed the age-old problem of keeping training interesting and lively to avoid complacence by team members and members avoiding training sessions. It may very well seem like it will take an insurmountable effort, but keeping training sessions fresh, productive and ongoing is a key skill.
One of the key leadership qualities an ERDI Supervisor can exhibit is one of being a mentor. While serving the community as part of the dive team has it rewards, mentoring a new public safety diver allows the ERDI Supervisor to give back to individual members.
It is in operations that we often think of the ERDI Supervisor. It is at the dive scene that the supervisor will apply his or her skills to initially size-up the situation, which will include a risk vs. benefit analysis, deployment of primary diver and top side duties such as communications, interviewing witnesses, managing the hot/warm/cold zones and possibly interacting with the victim’s family. Unless or until relieved by a superior, the ERDI Supervisor is responsible for all aspects of the mission, from start to finish.
It is here that the leadership skills will be tested, a level of compassion for those affected will be needed and the knowledge acquired from experience will be applied. Often the most experienced and best diver won’t be found in the water, they’ll be found on shore making the difficult decisions and leading the team.
To learn more about ERDI Supervisor and other courses, visit an ERDI Dive Center or tdisdi.com.
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