Public safety diving

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Nesconset fire department scuba rescue team on training exercise

Public safety diving is the underwater work conducted by law enforcement, fire rescue, and search & rescue/recovery dive teams. Public safety divers differ from recreational, scientific and commercial divers who can generally plan the date, time, and location of a dive, and dive only if the conditions are conducive to the task. Public safety divers respond to emergencies 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and may be required to dive in the middle of the night, during inclement weather, in zero visibility "black water," or in waters polluted by chemicals and biohazards.[1]

Specialized skills

In addition to basic diving skills training, public safety divers require specialized training for recognizing hazards, conducting risk assessments, search procedures, diving in zero visibility, using full-face masks with communication systems, and recovering evidence that is admissible in court. Some of the water they are required to dive in is contaminated, and they may be required to wear vulcanized drysuits, with diving helmets sealed to the suit, and utilize surface supplied air. At times, the decontamination process that takes place out of the water can be longer than the dive time.[1]

Public safety diving personnel

Many public safety divers are volunteers, but career law enforcement or fire rescue personnel also often take on these additional responsibilities as part of their occupation. Firefighters will find the diving equipment has similarities to the full face masks and breathing apparatus worn in smoke filled environments.

Law enforcement personnel are also trained as public safety divers because of their training and experience in handling evidence and presenting evidence in court.[1]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Blades Robinson, (11/01/02). What is public safety diving, , accessed 2 June 2012

Further reading

  1. Howard, Eric. Monson, John. (2002) Downtime: An Oral History Of The Lee's Summit Underwater Rescue & Recovery Team. Bookstand Publishing ISBN 1-58909-095-0

External links

More information on public safety divers, their training, and their equipment.