One subject we rarely discuss is how many factors must come together to safely put divers in the water. These factors often include support personnel, shore-based equipment, and on many occasions, working dogs. So what is a working dog and what makes one different from the standard puppy roaming around our homes?
Given the extensive nature of public safety diver training and the specialized equipment public safety diving teams generally have at their disposal, it’s easy to understand why ERDI-trained divers might feel that, “We are the only ones prepared to do body recoveries — any body recovery. And, if not us, then who?” Unfortunately, that’s a belief that can easily get you killed.
Backmount may be the standard in public safety operations, and deviation from the standard is difficult, but let’s examine this configuration for applications in the public safety sector.
As with all rescue techniques, procedures, and methods, they all require professional training. Ice Rescue Systems, offers student and instructor training courses
To find the limits for your team, training is essential. Practice night operations before you attempt them in the real world.
If your team has new systems or needs to be brought up to date on how systems work, seek out training.
Recruiting for a dive team can be difficult, and in many cases your candidate pickings may be slim, but do not just accept members to fill seats.
In the old world of public safety diving, instructors were often experienced divers who used common sense to establish educational practices.
If you are forming, or plan to form a new dive team, I wish you luck. Even when taking on this task, ask for help and learn how others have been successful.
A core standard for training public safety divers is essential. Emergency Response Diving International (ERDI) has worked to develop a set of training protocols where equipment, safety planning, and operational activities are pre-designed to follow NFPA and OSHA guidelines.