Public Safety Diving in the new Millennium, part #2

Sitting on the river bank some 45 years ago watching my father teach many of the first Public Safety Divers I thought, this is as good as it gets. I remember thinking what PSD would be like fifty years from now. Well it has not changed all that much in all those years. The gear has improved but the basic mission remains the same – find what we are looking for and go home when the job is done.

Techniques however, have changed some for the better and some for who knows. We like to refer to ourselves as an industry however other than going underwater and searching for a body or evidence we embrace many dissimilarities.

As an industry we cannot even agree on a standard set of signals or a consistent emergency procedure plan to allow teams from different areas, or training systems to communicate in emergency blackwater situations. For example, many systems promote a single emergency signal. Shots fired man down, seven-alarm fire for every situation, no matter what level of assistance is required. This represents sport diving techniques not technical PSD operational diving. Where is the standard progression or real plan we seemingly have in every other type of rescue operations? Some sort of uniformity that carries from one fire, police, or EMS department to another around the country.

Though drowning remains one of the leading causes of accidental death to children in North America, (most first world countries) the average dive team continues to be severly under-budgeted and under-trained.

Where do we go from here, how do we become safer and more consistent as an industry? How might we better serve the public and our selves.

• Better education of what the job is all about before the new team gets started.
• Better information for the decision-makers new and old that will help them decide weather or not they are prepared to commit to having a water operational team and specifically scuba.
• Long term training goals based on the perceived needs of the local area and potential water operations.

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