Dive Training in the Kanawha River

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By: Thomas Robinson on Jul-31-17

 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.

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