ERDI Workshop

Dive Right In Scuba from Plainfield Il, in conjunction with Emergency Response Diving International, will be hosting a Public Safety Diver Day at Haigh Quarry on September 29th from 0900 until 1600.

We would like to bring Public Safety Water Rescue Specialists together to meet, network and learn from each other. Workshops will be placed throughout the day and will include:

Equipment Configuration: bring your equipment and discuss your configuration with other teams. See what is working and what isn’t. Evaluate and dive new products.

Search Patterns: typically used patterns as well as atypical patterns for heavy weeds, sonar coordination, and options for extended operations.

Shore Support and Line Handling: line handling techniques, hardline vs. wireless comms, responsibilities of the Divemaster and Shoremaster.

Boat Based Diving and Recovery: boat based diving techniques, body recovery, lift bag techniques.

Decontamination of Divers from Contaminated Water: biological and chemical decontamination of divers and equipment.

Surface / Swift / Ice Rescue: cold water immersion suit rescues, swift water gear demonstration.

ERDI Workshops – Advantages of ERDI and your dive Team.

Register with Dive Right In Scuba at 815-267-8400.

Dive Right In Scuba will be providing lunch. The cost is $40.00 and covers the $20.00 Entry Fee into Haigh Quarry, Gear Demos, Seminars and Lunch. No equipment will be provided – divers must have a full set of gear including exposure protection to dive. Air fills are available on site and are not included in the cost.

ERDI – Works with its Facilities Worldwide to bring the latest and most relevant training to PSD TEAMS.

For more information about hosting an ERDI event in your area please contact or call 888-778-9073 internationally please dial 207-729-4201.

OSHA Standards and PSD Teams: Are We Really Exempt?

By Michael S. Glenn

Public Safety diving is an amalgam of several different and varying forms of diving which joins the best of recreational courses, scientific principles and commercial standards. However, one question which is often addressed is this: do public safety divers fall under the standards and guidelines as laid out under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)? Simply stated, YES public safety and emergency response divers are governed under several different guidelines as outlined in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). However, some provisions must be in place first.

OSHA is the governing body for “workplace safety”. Workplace safety is outlined as a relationship between employee and employer. As such, public safety and emergency dive units working directly under the control of an employer would be considered as being under OSHA’s control while dive team units and members from a private entity where there is no employee or employer relationship would not be initially considered under the control of OSHA. In addition, some states are not considered to be governed under OSHA jurisdictions as they have opted to create their own work place safety guidelines. These states are called State Plan States. State Plan States develop and enforce their own set of workplace safety guidelines. However, these standards must meet the same minimum standards that OSHA addresses or exceed them in order to be approved and institutionalized.

Public safety diving does not conform to one set platform for diving. As such, it is not traditionally governed under several standards in existence. In addition, the typical standard most divers reference when discussing OSHA adherence seems to be OSHA 29 CFR 1910.400 or Subpart T “Commercial Diving Standards”. While most readily recognize that within the first three paragraphs the standard simply states that this standard does not apply to public safety divers, this statement is somewhat misleading. Public safety divers operating in certain aspects may not be held to OSHA standards in whole. However, when conducting dives in waters where the current flow is over one knot (1kt. / 1.15mph) they are held to being tethered, as outlined in this standard. Further, when conducting salvage operations, where lift bags or lifting equipment is deployed, public safety divers are no longer working in a realm of public safety diving but in commercial salvage and again are held to the commercial standards as outlined in the OSHA guidelines.

While most discuss the commercial diving standards, OSHA outlines several other standards that everyone, including land based members, must adhere to. For example, OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1926.106, Working over or near water: Personal Protective and Life Saving Equipment, clearly outlines that everyone working from boat or land in close proximity of the water must wear a life vest. This single standard addresses anyone standing or working near the water’s edge from tenders, surface support, decontamination teams, medical assistance, etc.

In 29 CFR 1910, Respiratory Protection: Personal Protective Equipment, the standard states: “In the control of those occupational diseases caused by breathing air contaminated with harmful dusts, fogs, fumes, mists, gases, smokes, sprays, or vapors, the primary objective shall be to prevent atmospheric contamination. This shall be accomplished as far as feasible by accepted engineering control measures (for example, enclosure or confinement of the operation, general and local ventilation, and substitution of less toxic materials). When effective engineering controls are not feasible, or while they are being instituted, appropriate respirators shall be used pursuant to this section.” (OSHA 29 CFR 1910.134 (a) (1)) Further, the standard outlines that the respirator must be fit tested to the wearer. Several agencies, across the nation have interpreted that this standard applies to the use of their full face masks utilized in potentially contaminated water environments.

Another guideline laid out under OSHA that emergency response divers fall under includes 29 CFR 1910.1030, Bloodborne Pathogens Standard; this guideline sets out the minimum requirements for protection, exposure mitigation and reporting practices for anyone who can potentially come in contact with blood or biological pathogenic materials, as a diver will when performing human remains recoveries.

OSHA standards cover a vast majority of topics and details and one is hard pressed to find some aspect of the diving profession that is not covered under at least one guideline. However, what is important to remember is that OSHA’s guidelines are not enacted to harm or hamper an organization but to help protect them and their employees from unnecessary risk, injury or harm. This holds true for public safety dive teams. Regardless of your state’s position, as an OSHA controlled state or a State Plan State with its own occupational safety organization, every diver must meet some form of OSHA compliance in some form of its operations. In addition, civilian and non-affiliated public safety teams may find themselves operating under the control of a government or public body and would again find themselves needing to comply. It is the divers, dive team leaders and governing agency’s responsibility and duty to know their respective state’s position and guidelines. Knowing the guidelines and implementing their practice routinely will assist in the overall safety and professionalism of the team.

For further information on OSHA guidelines, please contact your local states department of occupational safety and health, or go to: For research into specific codes, guidelines or topics go to:

About the author

Michael began his law enforcement career in July, 1990 and has served approximately 20 years as a law enforcement officer with several law enforcement agencies in North Carolina. Michael has enjoyed working briefly as a patrol officer but has devoted most of his career to criminal investigations and crime scene investigations.

Michael assumed the role of criminal investigator and crime scene investigator while employed with the Tabor City Police Department and maintained that position until 1998. He left Tabor City Police Department as a Detective Lieutenant and Assistant Chief of Police to join the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office. Michael was employed by Columbus County as a criminal investigator and crime scene investigator. Michael was initially assigned as the domestic violence investigator and later transferred to general crimes, fraud and cyber crimes. In addition, Michael was one of two detectives working on administrative investigations. Michael designed and established the department’s forensics processing lab and built the department’s working CSI program. In addition, Michael was instrumental in establishing the sheriff’s office underwater crime scene unit and acted as the dive team supervisor throughout his employment with the department. While employed with the sheriff’s office, Michael was instrumental in aiding in the building and equipping of the department’s first evidence processing facility and in establishing the basic protocols for evidence processing and submission.

Michael joined the North Carolina Justice Academy staff in February of 2007. In addition to his Academy duties, he also serves as a reserve police officer within Columbus County. Michael’s primary areas of concentration are in forensic technology courses including: basic and advanced crime scene investigation, fingerprint classification and comparison, chemical development of latent evidence, implementation strategies for forensic light source technologies deployment and incident reconstruction. Michael also serves as an instructor in underwater crime scene investigation and public safety diving. Michael is a certified scuba instructor and has authored several unique specialty programs in the field for public safety divers. In addition, Michael has been an invitational member on the US Navy’s Contaminated Water Diving Technical Working Group, as well as having published articles in H2Ops magazine and Law Enforcement Technologies on diving topics. Currently Michael has 3 training manuals in print and one on-line diving course for testifying in court for public safety divers.

Michael has been awarded his Advanced Law Enforcement Certificate from the North Carolina Sheriff’s Training and Standards Division, as well as, completed the North Carolina Justice Academy’s Public Safety Diver’s Certificate Program.

To learn more how ERDI can benefit you and your Team please visit

North East State Police Administration Conference (NESPAC) Selects ERDI

In the post 9-11 era, documentable training has become important as part of Homeland Security.

NESPAC, North East State Police Administrators Conference, has selected ERDI as the primary public safety diver training agency. NESPAC includes the New England states as well as New York. New York State Police have utilized ERDI for over 2 years and brings ERDI instructors and training facilities to the group.

According to Trooper Tom Barden, NYSP’s Division Dive Officer, all new divers joining any NESPAC team will undergo the same curriculum of training. Previously, new members were selected from certified divers and military divers and received “on the job” training. In the post 9-11 era, proper documentable training has become important as part of Homeland Security.

“ERDI is being called upon for its public safety dive training and its recognized certification in this field,” stated Trooper Barden.

NYSP has operated its dive team since 1934, consisting of Troopers who also perform regular patrol and administrative duties.

To learn more about the NYSP, please visit
To join the growing ranks of ERDI divers, visit

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

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.