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Which Way Do I Go?

Discussion in 'Public Safety Divers/Search and Rescue' started by bigmak, Mar 2, 2007.

  1. bigmak

    bigmak Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Northeast Ohio
    I am EMT/Firefighter for a volunteer department and newly certified PADI Open Water. I would like to take my training toward getting on a dive team. I am looking for suggestions on a direction I should be focusing.
  2. dittrimd

    dittrimd Force Fin Diver ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Coventry, CT
    I am not sure how it works where you are but check and make sure your department will allow you to participate on a dive team. In my area your chief first needs to approve you for participation in our county dive team. Once you have the proper approval find the team/s in your area that will allow you to participate (Hopefully there is one). A good established team is the foundation for any new want to be PSD diver. If you try to do too much training and gear aquisition prior to joining a team you might find yourself repeating things or purhcasing unecessary gear.

    With your newness and recent OW cert the team may restrict your diving to controlled training excercises so be prepared and be patient. They may even ask you to take more dive classes. In my case I joined as a PADI OW with about 8 years of recreational diving. I was immediately asked to take the next AOW class available which my department gladly paid for. The team also scheduled LGS classes for the dive team both open water and ice which were a good learning experience. After an initial checkout of my gear, a pool and OW training dive with experienced team divers I was given clearance to dive on team drills every month. This helped to hone my skills and familarize me with how my team conducted its activities. After a period of time when I showed my abilities I was then allowed to participate in emergency calls but again it took a while so be patient. Another important factor is that you are comfortable and trust the people you are working with, just like they want to make sure they are comfortable with you and your abilities. The worst thing you could ever do is go into a situation unprepared or worrying about your safety.

    Also be willing to do anything the team asks of you. Even though you are diver one day you might be asked to be a tender or even be in charge of gear. This will show that you are really there for the team and not just for yourself. A diver literally lives and dies with their team and it is no place for individuals who are seeking to serve their own interests first and the teams second. As a PSD diver you put so much responsibility in your dive team and surface support. Even after 7 years on my team I am still amazed just how much effort it takes to get one diver in the water to do a search. Once you have seen how your dive team operates and how they want your gear configured dive as much as you can outside of the dive team training. Using your equipment and having it be second nature is key. I see too many divers go into the winter season and have their weights and bouyany all screwed up. This winter we did an ice drill and they guy could not get below the surface becuase his weight was still set up for his warmer wet suit weather. The drill was a complete waste for him all becuase he was not prepared.

    Above all keep and open mind. PSD diving is not for everyone. I have seem more divers come and go than stick with it. This is not for everyone and don't be too hard on yourself if the first time you dive a nasty blackwater dive that freaks you out. I can say that being on my team has been one of the most rewarding things I have done in public safety. Best of luck and feel free to ask more quesitons.

    Take care,

  3. bigmak

    bigmak Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Northeast Ohio

    Thanks for the information. I am trying to get in touch with the dive team in the county to the south of me, they have not responded as of yet. I will use the time to fine tune my skills and enjoy as much diving I can.
  4. TC

    TC Miscreant Moderator Staff Member

    Search prior threads here for training recommendations, best bet for you at this point is get out and dive as much as you can. Public safety dive training will usually be easier for you once you've mastered the basics and gained really good buoyancy control skills.

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