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?
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.
Proper preparation and procedures for public safety dive teams when approaching a scene
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.
Many dive team members join as basic open water divers with minimal experience. To help this type of individual be a better public safety diver, there are many actions he or she can take.