ERDi Professional Courses

ERD Supervisor

The training you will receive in the ERD Supervisor course will prepare you to supervise ERD team operations as well as assist ERD Instructors with training. NFPA standards, supervising divers in varying conditions and interagency operations are some of the topics covered. Like all ERDI courses, ERD Supervisor is OSHA and NFPA compliant. In addition, the ERD Supervisor course serves as a base to develop leadership qualities and future ERD Instructors. During the open water training segment of the course, some of the skills ERD candidates will demonstrate mastery of are search patterns, proper evidence handling techniques, incident command and supervision of the scene from initial arrival through final debriefing.

ERD Instructor

The ERD Instructor course is the next step in the ERDI Professional realm. The ERD Instructor Development Course prepares and teaches candidates to conduct ERD Tender, ERD I, ERD II and ERD Supervisor courses under the guidance of an ERD Instructor Trainer. The candidate is then evaluated in the ERD Instructor Evaluation Course. During the IEC portion the candidate will be evaluated on teaching abilities in the classroom, confined water and open water. In addition, the ERD Instructor will demonstrate proficiency in a number of skills from the ERDI curriculum.

ERD Instructor Trainer

ERDI’s highest teaching level is the Instructor Trainer rating. Once a qualified instructor successfully completes International Training’s Instructor Trainer Workshop and has the perquisite experience, the ERD Instructor Trainer may conduct the ERD Instructor Development Course as well as the ERD Instructor Evaluation Course.

ERDi Ops Component Courses

ERD Drysuit OPS

The ERD Drysuit OPS course is designed to develop the knowledge and skills that are necessary for drysuit diving operations in emergency response diving. In addition to the fundamental skills of drysuit diving, other important topics include encapsulation, contaminated environments, protecting potable water supplies and decontamination procedures. Drysuit OPS training is also part of the ERD II curriculum.

ERD Full Face Mask OPS

The ERD Full Face Mask course provides the skills and knowledge for the ERD diver to utilize full face masks for emergency response diving. While basic full face mask topics and skills are presented, other topics and skills include encapsulation, communications with a full face mask, selecting proper masks for emergency response diving and decontamination procedures. Full Face Mask OPS training is also part of the ERD II curriculum.

ERD Ice Diving OPS

Conducting emergency response operations in an overhead environment, such as ice diving, presents hazards and challenges to the ERD team not found in normal situations. Important topics and skills that are presented during this course include physiological aspects of cold-water diving, appropriate equipment for ice diving, surface support procedures as well as scene preparation and lost diver drills.

ERD Ice/Surface Rescue OPS

This non-diving ERD course will train and prepare rescue teams to properly respond and execute operations to retrieve victims who have broken through thin ice conditions. Subjects that are discussed in the classroom include ice characteristics and formation, types of victims both human and animal, team operations, equipment and rescue techniques. During the practical training portion, students will perform a variety of roles and master skills such as proper donning of protective gear, victim extrication and self rescue to name a few.

ERD U/W Explosives Recovery OPS

Admittedly, this course is not for everyone. This course is designed and intended for dive team members who are already certified bomb technicians and associated with an existing bomb team to further their understanding, skills and limitations of handling explosive devices in the underwater realm.

ERD Tender

The ERD Tender course trains team personnel to properly line tend and participate within the public safety dive team in a non-diving roll. ERD Tender is also part of the ERD I course curriculum so that an entire team can participate and train to their individual needs. Crime scene recognition, search patterns and decontamination procedures are some of the topics covered. In addition, ERD Tender students learn and master tending skills in both confined water and open water settings.

ERD U/W Threat Assessment OPS

In a world that has changed dramatically in recent years, so has our training for emergency response diving. The ERD U/W Threat Assessment OPS course is a course that is designed to provide the training, knowledge and skill development to recognize and identify a hazardous device in the underwater environment. Once identified, students learn the proper methods of marking and securing the area, who to notify for possible removal as well as the effects of explosions that occur underwater.

ERDi Diver Level Courses

This entry level emergency response diving course is designed to give the public safety diver the fundamental skills needed to safely function as part of a public safety dive team and is OSHA and NFPA compliant. Topics such as problem solving, tender skills, search patterns and evidence handling are covered just to name a few. Dive skills include executing search patterns, victim recovery, emergency procedures and decontamination procedures among others. ERD I also serves as a prerequisite to ERD Ops Components courses.

This ERDI course enables the public safety diver to develop detailed knowledge and advanced skills in emergency response diving. Among the topics covered are manner of death, physiological changes a submerged body undergoes, mechanics of drowning, handling of remains environmental issues, encapsulation, full face mask and drysuit use. As part of the certification requirements during the six dives, students will also master drysuit and full face mask skills.

General Information about ERDi Training


A Typical Scenario:
It is 4 am when the dispatcher turns in the call for a car overturned in the river.  Two local firemen who are also divers jump in a pick up truck loaded with the dive gear from yesterday’s recreational diving and drive to the scene.  Upon arriving they immediately suit up and jump into the river to effect rescue.  As soon as they step into the water they notice that the current is much faster than they expected and that the water is much colder.  The first diver uses the current and drifts to the car and grabs on, the second diver follows.  The first diver crawls inside the open passenger door to search for the victim.  As the second diver reaches the car his recreational gear becomes entangled.  His weight causes the car to shift and roll in the current.  He travels down stream in the current and catches an overhanging tree branch.  The first diver is effectively trapped in the car only three feet from the surface.  When public safety officials arrive they immediately commence a surface rescue procedure to retrieve the second would be rescuer from the tree branch.  They also called for a dive team from a neighboring county to rescue the diver in the car.  Unfortunately by the time the dive team arrives their rescue is a body recovery.  The driver of the car comes back to the scene with the Highway Patrol Officer just as they pull the body of the first diver from the water.  The driver had escaped from the vehicle and walked to a neighboring house to call the Highway Patrol.

The efforts of these well intentioned but under trained divers resulted in a needless fatality and putting numerous other professionals at needless risk.  The scene portrayed here is fiction, but, scenes like it happen every year.  The reason is not really a lack of training, that is a symptom.  The real reason is the failure of administrators to realize the need for specialized training and equipment in the field of Public Safety Diving.

Before starting a dive team, each department must weigh the cost of accomplishing the task properly versus the benefit for the community.  What will your community gain?  Are other resources available to accomplish the same goals.  If you decide a dive team is necessary then please decide to adequately equip and train that team.  This pamphlet will give you the questions you should ask about the training you will receive.

Do you need Public Safety Training?
Diving is a specialized activity taking place in a hazardous environment.  That is why even recreational divers require certification to access equipment, air fills and dive sites.  That recreational certification (called open water) qualifies divers to dive in reasonably calm, clear conditions at depths not to exceed 60 feet.  In the recreational diving industry that certification is frequently referred to as a permit to learn, just as a learner’s permit is issued to a person completing high school drivers education.  We do not allow the learning permitee to drive without supervision, much less operate an emergency vehicle in route to an accident or fire scene.  Yet many departments feel that open water training qualifies the diver to dive in the hazardous environments encountered by the Public Safety Dive Team.

Many teams have fallen victim to the Rescue Diver Certification farce.  Recognizing the need for additional training the administrator seeks out “professional assistance” from the local dive store.  The dive store instructor provides all that he is able to provide, a recreational certification as a Rescue Diver.  Most recreational training agencies define their Rescue Diver Course as a self and buddy rescue program.  This is adequate for helping your buddy who gets in trouble at 45 feet on the coral reef in the Keys, but not much assistance in the Public Safety Environment.

The diving environment qualifies in every area as a HAZMAT site.  Add fuels and oils from a submerged vehicle and we have put multiple hazardous chemicals around the diver.  Additionally, those chemicals will destroy the divers life support system if they are inadequate for the job.  Place the diver inside the vehicle to do a recovery and we have added confined space rescue in a HAZMAT environment to the picture.  How many department administrators would take a person off the street with no formal training and place them in that situation above water?  Applied to other areas, imagine taking a person off the sidewalk handing them bunker gear and sending them into a burning building or sending a person to do hostage negotiation with only the information found in over the counter magazines.  Yet, almost daily departments do just that with department dive team members or even bystanders that happen to dive. Is this an invitation to disaster?  Should you ask the members of your department to accept or even volunteer to be a part of this potential disaster?

So how do you select and understand the type of training you are getting?
When contracting the initial training for your dive team you will probably be limited to two sources – sport certification instructors and agencies that specialize in training public safety divers.  The other limited but possible resource is technical agency instructors with specialized experience in rescue operations.  The advantage to sport instruction is cost and availability.  The drawback is an instructional program which generally prohibits the training of professional diving activities or any diving activity outside the traditional recreational limits.  The training focuses on avoiding the situations the public safety diver will encounter on 90% of all calls.  Additionally the instructor probably lacks any public safety experience.

From a liability perspective, this may place the department in an indefensible position if training is questioned.  From a safety perspective we have created an accident waiting for a scene.  These factors are addressed by hiring public safety diving instructional specialist with verifiable credentials and experience.  The drawback is availability, since local resources frequently don’t exist.  That lack of availability will probably increase cost.  The department must decide if the increased safety and reduced liability are worth a few extra dollars.  That is part of the team’s obligation.

How do you qualify the instructor?

The first question to ask is what are the instructor’s qualifications?  What technical, rescue or public safety diving certification courses can the instructor teach?  Are those courses certified through a recreational training agency?  If so, does the agency also endorse the training of professional public safety divers?  Is the training NFPA and OSHA compliant (not compliant with some perceived provisional exemption!)?

Next, contact the certifying agency of the instructor.  Ascertain: 1.)  Does the agency endorse the training of professional or commercial divers for Public Safety Operations; 2.)  Does the instructor’s insurance cover him for teaching these types of activities; 3.)  If the agency finds that their training is questioned in court does the certifying agency have any training standard or provision which would indicate the Public Safety Diver was diving beyond the realm of his certification and training; 4.)  You may also want to verify the certification level and reputation of the specific instructor with whom you are dealing.

General Information about TDI Training

Now that you are already open water certified and your looking for

little more adventure, technical diving may be just the thing for you.

Question: What is technical diving?


All non commercial diving is categorized as recreational and within

recreational diving there is sport and technical.  Sport

diving includes your open water certification, advanced scuba diver,

and many other specialty course.  Technical diving picks up where sport

diving ends generally at nitrox (a breathing gas with oxygen levels

greater than 21 percent).

Question: What is my first step into technical diving?


Nitrox is most divers first step into technical but it has also become

very popular amongst sport divers so TDI Advanced Nitrox and

Decompression Procedures would be a great start.  Advanced Nitrox and

Decompression Procedures for the foundation of technical diving all

other course will build on the knowledge and skills learned during

these courses.

Question: Do I have to go deep for technical diving?


No. Although technical diving is commonly thought of as deep, there are

a lot of courses that stay within the sport diving limits (40 m / 130

feet) such as Advanced Nitrox, Semi Closed Circuit Rebreather (SCR) and

Closed Circuit Rebreather (CCR) and Advanced Wreck to name a few.

Question: Will technical diving allow me to go deeper?


yes.  TDI has course curriculums that take you as deep as 100 m / 330

feet and do so in a manner that each course builds on the last and each

course takes you a little deeper.  By receiving training in this manner

not only are your skills and knowledge increasing but so is your

comfort level.