Video: Columbus Fire and Rescue Dive Training
COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) — It’s that time of year — sunny days and fun on area waterways. And that unfortunately can spell danger. Already we’ve had a possible downing in a boating accident in Tishomingo County last week.
When fun turns to tragedy, area dive and rescue teams are the ones who respond. Members of the Columbus Fire & Rescue Dive Team were on the banks of the Tenn-Tom Waterway today [Tuesday] training for the call they hope doesn’t come.
As a U.S Army Corps of Engineers barge passes nearby, just off to it’s left first responders are being taught to protect themselves while performing difficult rescue maneuvers.
“There have been several drownings here. Last year we had a couple of drownings. And we need to be familiar with our equipment, and just time under the water,” said Scott Swain with the Columbus Fire & Rescue Dive Team.
Modern technology helps keep the submerged diver in contact with his partner on the river bank.
“About five to six years ago, we got hard line communications. We still use hand signals, with rope signals actually. But we can still talk to people,” said Swain.
In most rivers and lakes in our region, visibility under water is almost zero. Logs and stumps add to the hazards.
“Anytime you go under the water, it’s a dangerous environment. You can get hung up on stuff. We train to be able to cut stuff off of us. If we get hung up in trot line or whatever, we want to be able to cut that loose,” said Swain.
Regular training of this kind may save a life or at least bring closure to victims’ families. But at the end of the day, it also means members of this dive team get to go home to their families.
To meet certification standards, dive team members must train doing between six and 12 dives a year under different circumstances.