ERDI PSD Tender Skills Are Always in Fashion!

The use of UW Communications has placed new importance on Tender skills.

Recently while our own ERDI Regional Manager Shawn Harrison visited Lake County Diver Supply, an ERDI facility focused on Public Safety Diving and Equipment located in Hobart, Indiana, he visited with Trainer and Staff members Hank Woronka & Ron Kurth. Before long, the discussion turned to training. Specifically, the discussion became more focused on how the advancement of U/W Communications has affected Team protocol, in many cases relaxing traditional training.

Hank was quick to remind everyone that in the PSD business end of a dive, you can never be too careful. Kurth said, “during the Public Safety Challenge, all team members participating are using communication, but at one of the stations the team has to do a search for a small object (i.e. knife, handgun, etc.), then the judge at anytime will disconnect their communications forcing them to revert back to using line pulls.” Wonka added that this drill is performed because you never know when you might have a communication breakdown, whether wireless or hardwire. This forces you to continue the search for an object or person being able to communicate with the tender without the use of audio/electronic communications.

Lake County Diver Supply as well as others put a lot of emphasis on repetitive training and redundant systems. It is no surprise more and more Teams continue to gravitate to ERDI onLine training to train, as well as hone their Teams proficiency and skills in many fields. The ERD Tender online course has become a favorite of many Trainers as a prerequisite to many PSD courses and/or Team participation. Check out the onLine course:

To find a facility to assist you and or your Team, please visit:

For additional information contact ERDI at:
International Training
18 Elm St
Topsham, ME 04086

P: 1-888-778-9073
P: 1-207-729-4201
F: 1-207-729-4453

Below is a partial excerpt from a Training hand out compliments of Lake County Diver Supply.

OPS Boats

The selection of an Ops Boat is commonly driven by your Teams’ Mission!

In search of a new boat for your team or simply evaluating the one you have to maximize its utility or for future replacement? You will want to read on; the choices available are as different as your operations!

As you well know, Ops/Work Boats come in many shapes, sizes and styles. The number one deciding factor that will drive your team’s decision is often geographical as well as operational. What body of water will you need to operate in? From rapid flowing rivers, to lakes, to area ports, to open ocean operations or navigating the flooded roadways of a community… the vessels available are as different as the work they do.

There are three basic “starting points” to consider that will help to narrow the dizzying field. These are hull configuration, power and size; at first glance, these parameters may appear over simplistic, but let’s take a closer look.

There are a wide variety of hull materials and styles to consider, from inflatables with “pliable” or “soft floors” to inflatables with rigid hulls, smooth vs. ribbed, mono-hull vs. twin v. Once you arrive at a decision as to the type of hull you will select, what comes next? In an array of options, the most important deciding factor for many is POWER! Depending on the hull design you select, the options will vary and will be as simple as having the vessel rigged to hang outboards off the transom, straight inboard(s), inboard/outboard(s), drives or jet drive(s). Most importantly, you will need to decide whether your team’s application and operations will require single or twin power.

The next equally important decision will be size. We all think we know bigger is better, but this is not necessarily the case in this situation. Once you answer the usual questions as to the number of team members to be deployed, payload for required equipment and “weight allowance” for unexpected “guests” (ranging from extra gear to rescued civilians) you will start to close in on an ideal size. Often, the most common question I ask is “Where will the vessel be housed: At dock, in the water, on a lift, or on a trailer?” Most often, where the vessel will be stored and deployed from will likely drive the required size.

There is a long list of additional considerations:

  • What will be the draft and how much water will you draw when deployed in a variety of configurations?
  • Speed: How important is it in your mission? Are you rescue or recovery? Are you first responder or scene investigations? Are you tactical? Each will require different considerations.
  • Distance needs and fuel load considerations
  • Fire suppression system needed?
  • Patient carrying capabilities?
  • Water-tight storage compartments? If so, what will they house?
  • Lifting capabilities: By crane or helicopter for deployment or quick egress from an unexpected situation
  • Built in closed cell configuration?
  • Safety, stability and versatility
  • Diver friendly and durable

Mission specific options are available from a variety of manufacturers. Whether your team is doing Water Rescue, Law Enforcement, Fire Suppression, SWAT Deployment or Flood Evacuation, there is a vessel already out there to fit your needs. Seek them out, test the vessels in “like” conditions with “like” loads and talk to operators that have experience with them in the field. Remember, when it comes to your team’s safety, quality is paramount. Your work platform is one you should be able to take for granted when doing the job; when well maintained, the vessels operation should be seamless and unnoticeable; in other words, it should be hassle free!

A search for rescue boats will generate a variety of manufacturers, but here are a few diverse considerations that may be a good starting point:
Creative double stacker shown
Zodiac Inflatable’s- a long standing and well recognized name
Recognized for their aluminum work boats
Whaler Guardian 25’- well respected vessel

Regardless of what type of OPS Boat your team may have, there is nothing more important than constant training!
Contact us at ERDI and let us help build a training program for you and your team.

Call 207.729.4201 or 888.778.9073

PFD’s AND PSD’s If YOU are one… you should wear one!

Here are some basic facts about PSD”s that you can WOW your fellow TEAM members with.

Did you know that there are five different categories of PFD’s currently recognized and in use?

USCG and State Law Enforcement agencies require and/or recommend different.

Types of PFD’s for different applications. Make sure you are aware of the requirements for your state before you select your PFD.

Most adults need an extra 7 to 12 pounds of buoyancy to keep their head above water. Below is a list of minimum buoyancy for each type of PFD.

Type I – 22 lbs.

Type II – 15.5 lbs.

Type III -15.5 lbs.

Ring Buoy – 16.5 lbs.

Boat Cushion – 18 lbs.

Hybrid inflatable – 22/7.5 lbs.

Special use device – 15.5 to 22 lbs.


Type I – Offshore Lifejacket

This PFD is designed for extended survival in rough, open water. It usually will turn an unconscious person face up and has over 22 pounds of buoyancy. This is the best PFD to keep you afloat in remote regions where rescue may be slow in coming.

Type II – Near Shore Buoyant Vest

This “classic” PFD comes in several sizes for adults and children and is for calm inland water where there is chance of fast rescue. It is less bulky and less expensive than a Type I, and many will turn an unconscious person face-up in the water.

Type III – Flotation Aid

These life jackets are generally considered the most comfortable, with styles for different boating activities and sports. They are for use in calm water where there is good chance of fast rescue since they will generally not turn an unconscious person face-up. Flotation aids come in many sizes and styles.

Type IV – Throwable Device

These are designed to be thrown to a person in the water. Throwable devices include boat cushions, ring buoys, and horseshoe buoys. They are not designed to be worn and must be supplemented by wearable PFD. It is important to keep these devices immediately available for emergencies, and they should not be used for small children, non-swimmers, or unconscious people.

Type V – Special Use Device

Special use PFDs include work vests, deck suits, and hybrids for restricted use. Hybrid vests contain some internal buoyancy and are inflatable to provide additional flotation.
Inflatable Life Jackets

Inflatable life jackets rely on inflatable chambers that provide buoyancy when inflated. Uninflated, inflatable life jackets are less bulky than inherently buoyant life jackets. Inflatables come in a variety of U.S. Coast Guard-defined performance types. The specific type of life jacket is determined by characteristics such as its amount of buoyancy, its in-water performance and its type of inflation mechanism. To understand the details of a life jacket, read the life jacket label and owners manual, and consult your dealer or retailer if necessary.

All inflatables contain a backup oral inflation tube (which also serves as the deflation tube).
The preceding information is compliments of:
Personal Flotation Device Manufacturers Association
231 S. LaSalle Street, Suite 2050
Chicago, IL 60604

As a TEAM Member we are mostly exposed to 2 types of PSD’s Inflatable Life Jackets that come in two styles or variations (as shown above in a Horse Collar / Horse Shoe and Fanny Pack). In addition to selecting the right PSD for the job the next item to address is the inflation type: manual/oral, requiring good old fashion lung power, or CO2 Cartridge with manual fire (pull string) or water activation?

In addition to the above as Team Member we are most likely also exposed to Throwable Devices. Not pictured is the favorite of many Teams, the “Rope a Dope,” consisting of a rope in a bag that can be easily thrown (usually under hand) while retaining an end to a conscious victim in the water.

Regardless of what type of PFD your TEAM has elected to outfit you with most important of all …be proficient with it! Train regularly, and follow ALL the manufacturer’s instructions and closely and carefully inspect it for sign of wear and tear that are signs of needed replacement.

Chances are that in your personal vehicle you carry some “special tools” that are just part of your trade, make one of those a PFD. Be SAFE out there!

ERDI Salutes the Memory of Michael Dewayne Jones

Just sixteen days short of his completion of training this young man gave his ALL!

Firefighter recruit drowns trying to save children from Georgia lake. Michael was on a family outing in Macon-Bibb county, when an eight-year-old girl was playing with his sons and began thrashing about in the water. He managed to rescue three kids, including his two sons, before slipping below the water. We salute you, Michael, and your courageous act to put the safety of others before yourself.

By FireRescue1 Staff:
MACON, Ga. — “A man training to become a firefighter died Saturday while trying to rescue three children from a lake in Georgia.”

Read the rest of the article here.





ERDI online Training Meets Teams and Current Budgetary Needs!

As tax rolls shrink and Departmental Finances come under greater scrutiny and downward pressure … online training hits its stride.

Emergency Response Diving International (ERDI) public safety training was well received since its inception, but now more than ever the online training programs have become in vogue.

ERDI training has been structured with the needs of Department Teams in mind; as such training has been always structured to fulfill the requirements needed to meet Awareness, Operations and Technician requirements.

NOW ERDI onLine programs help Teams and Departments meet all academic requirements (Awareness) as a first step for three levels of training required in Public Safety Diving (Awareness, Operations and Technician).

The Contaminated Water Ops (CWO) program has an online awareness portion that you can literally start on today While it was unfortunate, CWO received unprecedented national exposure and notoriety because of the Oil Spill in the Gulf Region. ERDI was called upon not only to work with local teams involved in the situation but also to prepare the media to safely do their jobs reporting.
Current events have made us all painfully aware that the growing need for CWO trained Teams is on the rise. Contaminants continue to bleed into our waters whether through natural or manmade disasters.

If you or any of your Team Members are not yet CWO Certified get started now with the Awareness Training online, to learn more visit

Also learn more about other online programs such as Tender.

ALL programs are a MUST in today’s environment for each and every TEAM.




ERDI Instructor Trainer “MAKES THE CLIMB”

Buck Buchanan from Georgia recently attended FDIC and worked the ERDI booth during the event March 24th through the 27th at the Indianapolis Convention Center. Also in attendance at the FDIC show on behalf of ERDI was Regional Manager Shawn Harrison and BOD Representative Nestor Palmero.

The activity at the ERDI booth continues to grow exponentially every year, but this year it was different. There was one topic that was on every ones lips if they were involved in purchasing and procurement…budgets!

It’s no secret that many municipalities and their staffs have been impacted by the home value roll backs and therefore the short fall of tax dollars. One thing that was an over the top hit for ERDI was the growing numbers of online courses that help fulfill the academic requirements without requiring additional OT requirements.

This year’s FDIC had a very unique element for ERDI, on Friday Morning Buck Buchanan entered the booth and stated, “I’ll be back in a bit, there is something I have to do”. As he walked away we wondered where is he going with that Scott Pack?

Upon his return here is what Buck had to say….

“I found out about the 110 story climb as a memorial to our 343 fallen firefighters/brothers that gave their lives on 911 and decided to honor their memory and the memory of a particular man. Each of us making the climb carried the picture of a fallen firefighter. I had the opportunity to meet some of his family members and thank them for their courage and that of their firefighter. I climbed those 110 stories’ in full turnout gear with a Scott Pack because that’s what they did that day in September 2001.

I was lucky to meet a thirteen year old girl who was attempting the climb for her father a firefighter and as is so often the case, you never know how what you do will effect others, this was a hard climb to the top tier of the Lucas Oil Stadium and as the motto said ‘we climb because they climbed‘ after the two hour climb this old PSD… who sometimes wonders if people really care, was approached by this sweet young angel and she asked if I would take a picture with her because she viewed me as an inspiration during the climb. She said “you never stopped, you never quit, you just kept going and I thought if you could do it with all that gear I could do it too” I told her I had girls at home about her age and showed her the picture of my wife and girls and reminded her on 911 our brothers did not stop … and then it hit me!

OUR brothers… those 343 brave souls climbed that day for the same reason I climbed 9 years later… our wives, kids, community and the brother next to you.

As it turned out that little girl, who was there one minute and gone in a flash will never know that she was the true inspiration on that day! Her kind words and bright spirit let me know people do care and my brothers, those 343 firefighters may have fallen but they will never be forgotten.”

From training to operations: ERDI team show their skills


Vehicle simulator is key to Buck's training programThe Hazlehurst/Jeff Davis (Georgia) Volunteer Fire Department Dive Team received a call from the local sheriff’s office on a cold icy Saturday in January 2011. A report of a vehicle in the Ocmulgee River had been given to the team by a caller on their emergency line. 
The dive team arrived at the scene to find local fisherman around, but no one knew anything about a missing vehicle. After a few minutes, the local deputies arrived with the rest of the story. The reported driver of the missing vehicle had been picked up the previous Thursday night and admitted to a mental hospital. The man said he drove his new truck into the river at a local boat ramp. The deputies searched the boat ramp but could not find any evidence of a vehicle. After two days in the hospital the man seemed to be thinking more clearly and insisted that his new truck was in the river. That’s when the dive team was called-in to put training into operation.
On a cold and wet day 12 months earlier, Buck Buchannan of Dive911 had conducted an ERDi light salvage workshop with the Hazlehurst/Jeff Davis VFD Dive Team and Milan VFD Dive Team at Waterdog Scuba in Hazlehurst, Georgia. This was one of the first workshops with Buck’s “vehicle simulator.”  
The two-day workshop not only taught the dive teams the how’s and why’s of vehicle recovery but also trained them how to recover a vehicle as safely as possible with minimal subsurface time to the diver. This ERDi light salvage course was designed by Buck Buchannan to provide public safety divers with new techniques and a unique skill set focused on the safe and fast removal of autos/light items from the water.   
During this course, Waterdog Scuba students gained experience using a full size automobile simulator that brought a real-world feel to the workshop. As Buck explained “You don’t just simulate it, you do it.” Topics covered in the workshop included rigging, remote lifting, and search techniques for new and older autos.
Now back to January 2011. Armed with the complete story from the sheriff’s deputy, the team, consisting of divers from the Hazlehurst/Jeff Davis VFD Dive Team and Milan VFD Dive Team, went to work. 
Six team members were present: team captain, two tenders and three divers. The deputy was used as a scribe. The primary diver hooked to the tender line to make a cursory sweep of the boat ramp. Then the primary diver went down and started his sweep. After locating the wreck, he gave three tugs to the tender. The diver asked for more slack by giving two tugs and began his cursory search of the vehicle. The diver then attached his contingency line to the vehicle to make his trolley system for the wrecker.  Once the line was in place the diver surfaced and exited the water. 
Buck Buchannan showing safety harness rigThe dive boss turned to the deputy and asked, “Where’s the wrecker?”  The deputy looked perplexed at the request being made so soon. The dive boss explained, “Your vehicle is at the other end of that line.”
Upon arrival of the wrecker, the primary diver reentered the water and attached the wrecker cable to the vehicle’s frame, then exited the water. Total dive time combining the initial location dive and the hook-up dive – 11 minutes!
Thanks goes out to Buck Buchannan of Dive911 for the training he provided to our local teams. 
 “Courage through knowledge-Skill through training.”
Waterdog Scuba along with Dive911 we be holding a “Light Salvage” workshop on Friday, March 11th (6:00pm-9:00pm) and Saturday, March 12th (8:00am-5:00pm). This workshop will be sponsored by the Hazlehurst/Jeff Davis VFD, Jeff Davis County Sheriff’s Office, and Jeff Davis County EMA. Anyone interested can register by contacting Waterdog Scuba at Registration cost: $90.
 Students gain experience using a full size automobile simulator that brings a real world feel to this workshop. You don’t just simulate it, you do it!! Topics covered will include rigging, remote lifting, techniques for new and old autos, and much more.
Emergency Response Diver International (ERDi) Instructors will provide an introduction to their varied and in- depth Public Safety Diver training programs. These training programs should be an integral part of any PSD or SAR training regimen.


ERDI Challenge Coin: inaugural recipients are recognized for contributions to Public Safety Diving

ERDI™ (Emergency Response Diving International) announced earlier today the list of people who are the first to be awarded the ERDI Challenge Coin. This coin is earned by individuals whose work to promote Public Safety Diving within their communities has helped to improve PSD awareness, develop universal safe practices and attract both private and public sector funding for badged PS divers and support staff world-wide.

“This group of individuals have had a positive impact on Public Safety diving and more specifically have earned the appreciation and recognition of their peers in this important and growing segment of the service dive industry,” commented Brian Carney, president of ERDI.

Describing the ERDI Challenge Coin as a “small sign of our most sincere appreciation and a way to say thank you for all the effort made in the promotion and teaching of ERDI Public Safety Diving courses over the years,” Carney went on to explain that the first recipient of the honor are now charged with a new responsibility.

“We are asking this group of very special individuals to continue their work and additionally to help us identify the next wave of PSD educators and other team members who deserve the special recognition that is associated with the Challenge Coin.”

Carney said that during the past few years, several events at home and abroad have highlighted the need for comprehensive and standardized training for public safety dive teams. “Natural disasters, massive oil spills, and the destruction of homes by floods have shown us how important this service can be in any sized community. And how important it is to continue to develop and support individuals with the right training, equipment and infrastructure to offer help in the toughest of conditions and harshest circumstances.

The list of recipients of the inaugural ERDI Challenge Coin includes:

First Name
Last Name
Paul Montgomery
Ed Christini
Shawn Harrison
Jeff Smith
Buddy Brown
Joey Brown
Britt Clark
Jonathan Huber
Michael Glenn
Dart Craytor
Phillip Graf
Jacques Brassard
Robert Outlaw
Ronnie Outlaw
Dale Autry
Matthew Gruca
Henry Woronka
Charles Herman
Joe Mokry
Wendell Nope
Ronald Kurth
Michael Bourne
Buck Buchanan
Ronald Dorneker
Bill Hardman
Spencer Slate
Sam Rich
Rodney Pedersen
Mike Pedersen
Dan Howard
J. Mathieu Burden
Bret Gilliam
Mitch Skaggs
Ed Young
Phil Venture
James Wilk
Jason Martin
Keith Cormican
Bill Nichols
Glen Faith
Ray Mazzola
Grady Weston
Justin Weston
Ron Westmoreland
Dan Vaccaro
Brian Vaccaro

If you are a member of a Public Safety Dive Team, are a member of ERDI or are interested in finding out more about the ERDI Challenge Coin or how to nominate an individual to receive one, please contact ERDI Headquarters.

About ERDI

As well as being the original PSD educational agency with its own insurance supporting its course standards and curriculum, all ERDI programs are OSHA and NFPA compliant.

ERDI courses available now include diver, Ops Component, and Leadership level programs and ERDI methods and training are in use by some of the largest, most successful and renowned PSD departments in the USA, Canada and around the world.

ERDI, helping Public Safety Professionals, into and out, of the water and Committed to Serve and Protect.