Published on March 14th, 2017 | by Ryan Pennington0
Dive Training in the Kanawha River
March 13 – The Charleston Fire Department Dive Team spent the morning practicing rescue skills in the Kanawha River. Winter temperatures added a variable to performing rescues with water temperatures around 40 degrees. Their encapsulated suits protect firefighters from the harsh temperatures, but the bulkiness of the suits adds a degree of difficulty to their movements. Without these special suits, the divers would be unable to tolerate the water temperatures during the critical minutes of a water rescue.
The Charleston Fire Department Dive Team consists of firefighters stationed throughout the city that respond to water-related calls. Each diver spends numerous hours to become a certified public safety diver and then require annual in-service training hours to maintain their skills. Their equipment includes suits for various environments, breathing apparatus, rope systems and both high-tech search and communication equipment.
Today’s training consisted of victim rescue, sonar use, boat operations, line tendering and victim removal. Training in varying conditions in scenario-based situations keep the divers ready to respond.