Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A Birthday Celebration!!

You are cordially invited to a Birthday Celebration!!!
Guest of Honor: Jesus Christ
Date: Every day. Traditionally, December 25 but He's always around, so the date is flexible...
Time: Whenever you're ready. (Please don't be late, though, or you'll miss out on all the fun!)
Place: In your heart.... He'll meet you there. (You'll hear Him knock.)
Attire: Come as you are... grubbies are okay. He'll be washing our clothes anyway. He said something about new white robes and crowns for everyone who stays till the last.
Tickets: Admission is free. He's already paid for everyone... (He says you wouldn't have been able to afford it anyway... it cost Him everything He had. But you do need to accept the ticket!!
Refreshments: New wine, bread, and a far-out drink He calls "Living Water," followed by a supper that promises to be out of this world!
Gift Suggestions: ; Your life. He's one of those people who already has everything else. (He's very generous in return though. Just wait until you see what He has for you!)
Entertainment: Joy, Peace, Truth, Light, Life, Love, Real Happiness, Communion with God, Forgiveness, Miracles, Healing, Power, Eternity in Paradise, Contentment, and much more! (All "G" rated, so bring your family and friends.)
R.S.V.P. Very Important!
He must know ahead so He can reserve a spot for you at the table. Also, He's keeping a list of His friends for future reference. He calls it the "Lamb's Book of Life."
Party being given by His Kids (that's us!!)!
Hope to see you there! For those of you whom I will see at the party, share this with someone today!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Dive Team Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)

Breaking News

Dive Team SOP

Dive-Team-SOPI (ERDI Staff Member) recently bumped into an old friend who is still in public safety on the volunteer level after a career as a firefighter. The volunteer fire department of his community also had an organized dive team and my friend was on the team as well. Through the conversation, I learned —amazingly— that the team did not have an SOP – Standard Operating Procedure – for team operations. Amazed? Yes. Surprised? No.

In a real world scenario of limited funds and limited resources, often the development of an SOP takes a back seat to day-to-day operations. When this is coupled with the perception that SOP development is complex and time consuming, it is no surprise that a dive team may not have an SOP.

Basically, an SOP is a management tool that defines a framework of function and response for an operation. The level of detail or how “dynamic” it’s designed is an administrative decision, but in the end an SOP serves to act as a definitive link from administration leaders and policy makers to the personnel who take action and perform the duties associated with the SOP. In addition to standardizing response, it provides a means to reduce confusion, reduce liability and increase efficiency.

While some will argue…often a Chief or AC…that a high degree of “flexibility” is needed on a given call, line officers or supervisors do not have to be locked in to a hard-written SOP, as long as it’s constructed correctly. And, a team or department also has the option of having SOG’s…Standard Operating Guidelines, as well. For the purposes of this discussion, we’ll keep our focus on SOP’s. Let’s take a step by step look at constructing or writing a Standard Operating Procedure for your dive team.

Getting Started

Given that policy plays a major role in any operations, developing a SOP is a group activity involving administration (policy makers), officers (on the scene decision makers) and team personnel. If your team is involved in mutual aid responses, then the group should also include these members, as well as third party members who may interact with your team. An assembly of this type will insure that department policy is identified and defined, as well as allowing for operational decisions that need to be made. This group can then determine how detailed or basic, the SOP needs to be, specific to their jurisdiction or region.

Information Gathering

This process starts with a needs assessment. The development team will ask themselves exactly what the SOP should reflect and how will it meet the team’s requirements. An examination of the jurisdiction’s needs will be incorporated as well. Other information to include: existing SOP’s from other teams; potential external factors that impact your SOP (laws, regulations, accreditation); local department/team history, including type of calls, frequency of calls, etc, and team capabilities.

Analyze Information

Now the work begins. An analysis of the gathered information is basically a systematic approach of data and alternatives to achieve the desired outcome. It is at this point that the team will determine if this is possible. Questions you should be asking your team include:
  • Can we incorporate this into real world operations?
  • Will more training and equipment be required?
  • Will it withstand public scrutiny?
Writing the SOP

In this phase, some of the decisions that will need to be made are listed below.
  • Mission Statement. What is it we serve to do?
  • Scope. What do we want to accomplish with this SOP? Is it for water rescue overall or just dive team operations.
  • How detailed to make this. In normal circumstances, including too much detail may hamper personnel from carrying out their duties. Rather, give a broader range to accomplish the task.
  • The SOP must be clearly written in plain language to avoid any ambiguity.
  • Selection of words. Consider how words in the written version are used. Consider the words “will” and “may” are used in the following example: “Dive team members will use aluminum 80 cf cylinders for dives.” Or more appropriately “Dive team members may use available cylinders to accomplish the mission requirements”. Here is that flexibility the Chief was looking for.
  • Include a review date of the SOP.
  • Implementation. How will the new SOP be distributed? How will personnel be notified? Is training needed to fulfill the requirements of the SOP?
The Real World

Once in place, an evaluation process should be part of the SOP as well. After all, even the best laid plans are not always the best in certain situations and things don’t always go as planned. The review and evaluation process should be well planned and workable to determine if the SOP is effective and safe. In addition, an evaluation or review may be dictated by unforeseen circumstances, such as a call that resulted in less-than-desired outcome, personnel changes or funding changes. Having this review or evaluation defined ahead of time will save time and energy during any review.

Need Help?

In today’s working world, the internet serves to offer information and resources on a variety of subject matter, including SOP’s. ERDI forums, PSD forums and governmental agencies, such as FEMA, offer help and guidance. Much information is available at no cost and there are also companies that specialize in assisting FD or LE teams to develop their SOP’s.

Contact ERDI

Please email omnidive@omnidivers.com if you are interested or want additional information.

What is an Acceptable Depth for a Public Safety Diver?

Breaking News

What is an Acceptable Depth for a Public Safety Diver?

Acceptable-DepthA question that is batted around on public safety diver forums, meetings and general discussions is ‘what is an acceptable or maximum depth for a PS diver?’ If only there was a straight forward answer to this question. In order to see the complexity of this question we have to dissect the various regions and conditions in which PS divers respond. For the most part, this article is going to focus on the US dive teams, as other countries have different regulations and in most cases allow their teams, once properly trained, to respond to any situation without fear or question that they may be exceeding a regulation or governmental standard.

There is a wide spectrum to areas of response: from shallow water retention ponds (less than 6m / 20 ft) to deep high altitude lakes (60m / 200+ ft) and then there is everything in between. Each of these environments presents their own challenges and risks, regardless of depth. Shallow retention ponds have silt at the bottom that is extremely fine, easy to stir up and loaded with fertilizers and heavy metals. Deep lakes can have low visibility and nearly all have extreme thermo clines, as well as hidden obstacles to contend with. Rivers, fast or slow moving, present their risks too: subsurface floating objects, deep “pools”, undercuts, and the list goes on.

Dive teams are going to respond to the situation and do their best to fulfill their obligation to the community, so irrespective of governmental regulations or guidelines, ensure the team is trained for the possible conditions they can encounter. A well constructed SOP will define the conditions the team may encounter and will also serve to define what training needs to be done. Training a team for deep cold water or high altitude exercises that they will never encounter is counterproductive and a waste of time and valuable budget money. This is not to say this training will not benefit the team, but the team should be fully functional and ready to respond to a more likely ‘call out’ first before they seek higher level training.

It is quite often that dive teams who do need to respond to deep or overhead locations (wreckage, cars, boats, aircraft, caves) will have to look outside of their normal PS course offerings and seek out technical training, such as the courses offered by Technical Diving International (TDI). For cold water deep dives, advanced nitrox and decompression procedures courses may be in order. For even deeper dives, trimix may be needed. The skills and knowledge gained during these courses will benefit the divers, even for the shallower dives.

So to get to the root of the question ‘how deep can you dive to’ from a training agency and safety perspective, as deep as you have been trained, are equipped for, and feel comfortable going to. The final decision maker is: is the risk acceptable. Dive team’s primary objective – bring back what you put in the water.

For more information on courses that ERDI and TDI offer, visit us at www.tdisdi.com.

Please email omnidive@omnidivers.com if you are interested or want additional information.

A different perspective for Public Safety Dive Teams

Breaking News

Getting Rigged for Deep Diving…

A different perspective for Public Safety Dive Teams

Getting-RiggedBy far the majority of jobs for Public Safety Dive Teams are carried out in shallow water. Certainly it may be muddy, polluted, swiftly moving and otherwise extremely hazardous, but the added complications that come when planning for depth are not part of the usual risk analysis. But occasionally a call comes in for a “deep” recovery or search and it’s a wise PSD Team Leader who pulls out the “operations manual” specific to this type of dive.
Let’s recap for a moment the major factors that must be accounted for when a diver is called on to work at depth. But firstly, what do we define as DEEP?
The threshold for what’s considered a deep dive varies considerably from jurisdiction to jurisdiction— and sometimes from unit to unit within the same jurisdiction – and because of this, any real definition is a moving target. Your team’s SOP should be the guiding light; however, for the sake of illustration here, we will draw a line at 18 metres/60 feet. Anything deeper than that is deep, and requires special handling.
The first item on any deep-diving agenda is gas supply: specifically, gas volume management. The deeper we go, the greater volume of gas we use with each breath. Also, Diver A may have a dramatically different consumption rate than Diver B.
Here are some numbers. My resting gas consumption rate (required minute volume or RMV), sitting here in my office typing, is a little less than average (about 12 litres per minute). Average is said to be about 15 litres per minute. This is based loosely on an adult lung size of about 6 litres, a resting tidal volume of about 1.5 litres and 10 relaxed breaths a minute. (For imperial units, the average commonly used is about 0.5 cubic feet per minute.)
It is important to note that this is an approximation, an average, and will be greatly influenced by several factors:
  • Smaller people have smaller lungs, and the majority of women seem to breathe less
  • Body Mass Index (BMI) – the higher it is, the more oxygen is used and the faster the breathing cycle
  • Fitness and general health – the fitter you are the less air you use
  • Level of Anxiety – when stressed air consumption can double or triple

Note well that last bullet point because, when last I checked, PSD often have to work under great stress. It does not matter how many times a diver has worked a crime scene or searched for something or someone who has dropped out of a boat, their level of anxiety is higher than it is driving into work in the morning.

The increased gas volume needed for a specific depth is lineal and requires only simple math. A dive to 30 metres/100 feet will require at least four times the gas required on the surface. A dive to 40 metres (about 130 feet) will require five times the volume or at least 25 percent more than at 30 metres or 100 feet!

Of course, scuba cylinders are fitted with submersible pressure gauges and several personal dive computers available to PSD teams give their users an accurate readout of tank pressure; however, PLANNING to complete a dive operation within the limits of the diver’s “on-board” gas volume is a smart first step.

One seat-of-the-pants option for this type of planning is to take the average resting rate, multiply it by the target depth for the job on hand, and multiply that number by a factor of at least two to correct for stress and workload (the actual Dive Factor). Here’s a simple example. A diver with an average consumption rate has to work on a vehicle recovery at a depth of 33 metres or about 110 feet. The ambient pressure at depth is therefore going to be 4.3 bar / ata. His per minute requirements will be his average rate of 15 litres, multiplied by the depth of 4.3, multiplied by a dive factor of three, rather than the minimum of two, because this is going to be hard work. Result = about 195 litres per minute. For those using imperial units, the steps are similar. Plug in 0.5 cubic feet X 4.3 X 3 = 6.45 cubic feet per minute.

Clearly, a single “aluminum 80” is not going to offer much time at depth, and certainly little margin for contingency, should the diver get himself tangled in the rigging for the lift or have trouble sorting out the correct orientation for the harness… which of course would never happen!

And this brings up the number one reason why the guidebook on deep PSD operations often specifies the requirement for a large volume cylinder, fully charged and containing at least 2800 litres, or about 100 cubic feet, when work is going to be carried out between 18 – 40 metres (60 – 130 feet).

Next on the list is a back-up source of breathing gas. For a PS diver, the term diving alone is a misnomer, since a diver is part of a working team. But since most operations are completed by one diver in the water at a time, we use the term alone. This is particularly relevant when a working diver’s primary gas source is compromised in some way. It might be a regulator free-flow – alarmingly common in cold or dirty water – it may be an o-ring failure, but there is no “buddy” to fall back on and ask for an alternative gas source.

At depth – particularly below the deep threshold of 18 metres, or 60 feet, many teams opt to outfit their divers with a back-up first and second stage fixed to a meaningful volume of alternative “air.” This redundant life-support system may take the shape of a “buddy bottle” – a side-mounted or slung stage bottle – or it may be that the diver is wearing a set of doubles with an isolation manifold. The bottom line should be an alternative system containing sufficient gas to get a diver to the surface at a rate no greater than 9 metres/ 30 feet per minute, plus a five minute safety stop!

The next consideration for deep diving is narcosis. Narcosis is variable and several factors seem to add to its ability to close down situational awareness and critical decision making. In the absence of SOPs that allow the use of helium as a working gas at depth (perhaps the topic for a future article), there are several factors that we can limit or virtually eliminate and thereby better manage narcosis.

Carbon dioxide is thought to have a dramatic effect on narcotic loading. When we work at depth, we consume more oxygen and produce a correspondingly greater volume of carbon dioxide. This triggers an increase in our breathing rate… and so has a cyclic effect: the more gas we demand from our regulator the harder we work at breathing, the more CO2 we produce!

A diver used to working at depth will recognize the early symptoms of carbon dioxide build up (rapid breathing for example) and moderate the workload until he regains control of this breathing cycle. But we can help allay the early onset of CO2 build-up by selecting top-quality regulators (those designed to be used deep), and by insisting that all regulators to be used on deep missions are serviced at a GREATER FREQUENCY than recommended by the manufacturer… and by a licensed and certified technician.

In addition to using more gas, when a diver ventures deeper, the limit to the number of minutes he can spend there without requiring staged decompression stops to get back to the surface is shortened. Not only does staged decompression demand specialized training (and is sometimes forbidden by PSD SOPs), it also requires additional gases to help optimize the off-gassing process as the diver makes his slow ascent. The special techniques, training and equipment for staged decompression diving is well outside the scope of this article, but there is one item from the stage decompression arena that a PSD working deep should carry with them: a good personal dive computer (PDC).

The models available today (so-called fourth generation PDCs) are a boon to PSD since they are downloadable (offering a decent audit trail for tracking and logging missions), programmable (allowing the use of different gases AND the setting of decompression tracking to be at conservative levels), reliable deco management tools (they do not lock the diver out should the NDL be exceeded), and highly visible (new screen technology means critical information is available at a glance).

In murky water, dive lights are often more of a nuisance than a help, but at greater depths, even in relatively clear water, a good dive light is a required tool. During the past few years, the technology behind dive lights has undergone a similar revolution to PDCs. Gone is the need to carry an expensive canister light, as there are now handheld models that offer burn times in excess of three hours on one charge and as many as 1200 lumens of light. Some of these lights are small enough to fit into a tool pouch and carry a price-tag that will keep most accountants happy. When diving deep, the usual procedure is to carry a strong primary light and at least one backup. This has never been easier to conform to.

The last items on the list for deep PS diving is thermal protection and personal comfort. As with contaminated water diving, most deep operations are carried out in drysuits and thermal underwear. These pieces of kit are particularly important when water temperatures are moderate and several dives may be required to get a job completed. Hyperthermia is dangerous, and anything approaching it has the potential to cause serious problems. Not only are drysuits warmer at depth, but during surface operations and surface intervals a drysuit significantly helps keep divers comfy.

And while on that topic, let’s talk hydration and the pee factor. If we are going to spend an hour or more zipped into a suit, an off-board dump (a pee-valve) can greatly increase a diver’s comfort. If we borrow from the technical dive community, off-board dumps are commonly used by male and female divers and can help to keep a working diver’s mind focused on the job at hand and not the “Johnny on the spot” back in the parking lot.

Dive safe and thank you for your service.

Please email omnidive@omnidivers.com if you are interested or want additional information.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Procedures for Conducting Underwater Searches for Invasive Mussels Training

Procedures for Conducting Underwater Searches for Invasive Mussels

Hosted by: U.S. Geological Survey, Columbia River Research Laboratory in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Noah S. Adams
509-538-2299 ext. 254

When: July 13, 2012.

Where: Hood River, Oregon

What: - Classroom instruction and discussion from 8:30 am to 12:00 pm at the Hood River Inn
            - Dry-land and in-water training from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm (see dive site photos attached)

Who should attend:

SCUBA divers on established dive teams from county, city, state, federal, and tribal agencies are encouraged to attend.

Non- divers are also welcome. This is a great opportunity to learn what divers will be asked to do if you are the person organizing the search. Non-divers can participate in the morning classroom instruction and observe the divers during the afternoon.

You will be responsible for any travel, lodging, and food, but the event is free. You will need to provide all SCUBA equipment including at least one full SCUBA cylinder. Please note that there is no local dive shop that can fill SCUBA cylinders. For those of you traveling by air, USGS will provide a limited numbers of tanks for your use. If you anticipate needing USGS to provide a tank, please let us know in advance.

Training is limited to 30 divers
Please reserve your spot as soon as possible. Reciprocity agreements and liability waivers will need to be in place before you can participate in the training. Once you have confirmed your participation, we will send you reciprocity agreements and registration forms.

Zebra mussels were first detected in the Great Lakes in 1988. In 2007, Quagga mussels were found in the Western United States in Lake Mead, Nevada; part of the Lower Colorado River Basin. State and Federal managers are concerned that the mussels will continue to spread to the Columbia River Basin and have a major impact on the region’s ecosystem, water delivery infrastructure, hydroelectric projects, and the economy. The transport and use of recreational watercraft throughout the Western United States could easily result in spreading mussels to the Columbia River Basin. Efforts are being made to prevent the spread of mussels; however, there is great concern that these efforts will not be 100% successful.

If prevention efforts fail, early detection of mussels may provide an opportunity to implement rapid response management actions to minimize the impact. Early implementation of containment and eradication efforts requires getting reliable information to confirm the location of the infestation. One way to get this information is through the use of properly trained SCUBA divers. The request to conduct a search for mussels will likely be urgent and may only allow a day or two to prepare for activities at the dive site. Advanced training is recommended to prepare the divers to conduct the search in a timely, professional, and safe manner.

Topics included in the training

Below is a list of topics that will be covered during the training. You can download a copy of the entire procedures for conducting underwater searches for invasive mussels at the following link:

USGS Publicationhttp://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2010/1308/pdf/ofr20101308.pdf



How Mussels Move from Place to Place

The Importance of Preventing the Spread of Invasive Mussels

Dive Practices

Advanced Preparation

Dive Planning

Communication with Divers

The Buddy System

Identifying Mussels Underwater

What Divers Are Searching For

What Divers Are Not Searching For

Defining the Search Area

Methods for Searching

General Considerations

Arc Search Method

Circle Search Method

Jackstay Search Method

Dock Search Method

Collecting Information about the Search Area

Assessing the Probability of Detecting Mussels

Collecting Mussel Samples

Decontamination of Equipment

Friday, June 22, 2012

Surface Supplied Diving for Public Safety Dive Team Leaders and Incident Commanders

Hosted on: June 9, 2012, NASAR 2012 Annual Conference, Lake Tahoe, CA

Surface Supplied Diving for Public Safety Dive Team Leaders and Incident Commanders

Public Safety Dive Team Leaders and Incident Commanders whom are responsible for a dive team need to understand the capabilities of the surface supplied equipped dive team. Professional surface supplied diving is a team effort. It’s of paramount importance that the topside team (dive team leaders, incident command and staff), as well as the divers, are all trained and qualified to do their job.
Many diving operations are in shallow water, less than 80 feet (24 meters) and often are conducted in remote areas. Prior to the availability of lightweight, portable surface supplied diving equipment, the most common method that was used for diving and working in these remote areas was SCUBA. Working underwater with SCUBA diving equipment is less efficient and poses several safety risks for working public safety divers.
The primary differences between Surface Supplied Diving and SCUBA Diving include the following: using voice communication, having unlimited breathing gas supply, the use of surface support and they are tethered to the surface.

Public Safety Dive team leaders, with appropriate budgets, need to consider acquiring surface supplied diving systems and training for safety reasons, especially in limited visibility. These systems are another resource in the Incident Commanders tool box.

For assistance preparing and scheduling training for your Team contact ERDI or Omni Divers Underwater Services, L.L.C. directly.

http://www.tdisdi.com/wpsite/erdi/ or call 207.729.4201

Surface Supplied Diving Techniques for Public Safety Diving

Hosted on: June 9, 2012, NASAR 2012 Annual Conference, Lake Tahoe, CA

Surface Supplied Diving Techniques for Public Safety Diving

Professional surface supplied diving is a team effort. It’s of paramount importance that the topside team, as well as the divers, are all trained and qualified to do their job. The safety and success of a diving operation is only as good as the weakest link on the team. Divers will often make serious mistakes and increase their risks on the job when a tender or communications person is not alert and responding when needed.

Many diving operations are in shallow water, less than 80 feet (24 meters) and often are conducted in remote, hard-to-get-to areas. Prior to the availability of lightweight, portable surface supplied diving equipment, the most common method that was used for diving and working in these remote areas was SCUBA. Working underwater with SCUBA diving equipment is less efficient and poses several safety risks for working divers.

The primary differences between Surface Supplied Diving and SCUBA Diving include the following: using voice communication, have unlimited breathing gas supply, use surface support and they are tethered to the surface.

Public Safety Dive teams with appropriate budgets need to consider using surface supplied air for safety reasons especially in limited visibility.

For assistance preparing and scheduling training for your Team contact ERDI or Omni Divers Underwater Services, L.L.C. directly.

http://www.tdisdi.com/wpsite/erdi/ or call 207.729.4201

SDI High Altitude Diving - Lake Tahoe

Hosted on: June 10, 2012, High Altitude Instructor and Diver Specialty Courses, Sand Hollow State Park, Lake Tahoe, NV

High Altitude Instructor and Diver Specialty Courses, Sand Hollow State Park, Lake Tahoe, NV

The purpose of this course is to acqnuaint a diver with the necessary procedures and knowledge to safely dive at altitudes above sea level.

Open Water Execution
1. Two dives are required with complete briefs and debriefs by the instructor
2. Dive plans must include surface interval, maximum no-decompression time, etc. to be figured out and logged

Outline and Discussion Points
1. Why we do this Type of Diving?
2. Dive Tables as They Relate to Altitude Diving
    a. DCIEM Tables
    b. B├╝hlmann Tables
    c. Cross Corrections to United States Navy (USN) Tables
3. Computers
    a. Computer’s capability and usage
4. Calculations Based on Cross Corrections to USN Tables
    a. Usage
        i. Actual depth of dive
        ii. Altitude of dive site
        iii. Ascent rate is adjusted
    b. Examples of problems
    c. Last dive and travel at higher altitudes
5. Correction of Depth Gauges and Computers
    a. Gauges designed for 1 atmosphere (ATM)
    b. Capillary depth gauge will reflect the actual depth
    c. If there is any doubt use measured down line
6. Hypoxia During Altitude Diving
7. Levels of Altitude:
    a. 300 metres / 1000 feet
    b. 1200 meters / 4000 feet, etc

For assistance preparing and scheduling training for your Team or individual divers and instructors, please contact SDI or Omni Divers Underwater Services, L.L.C. directly.

http://www.tdisdi.com/wpsite/sdi/ or call 207.729.4201

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Oregon Public Broadcasting Ice Diving

Oregon Public Broadcasting and Omni Divers Ice Diving - February 2012

OREGON - DIVING LOCATIONS: Lake of the Woods, Klamath Falls, OR
DATES: February 24 - 26, 2012
COST: Class - $295 - Text - $35 - Certification fees - $25
PREREQUISITE: Advanced Open Water Certification or evidence of deep, navigation, and night dives
More Specific Detailed Information on February Ice Diving 2012!

We have started the preparations for the ice dives. We will stay in motel rooms in Klamath Falls, Oregon. There is also rooms at Lake of the Woods Resort. Check their webpage http://www.lakeofthewoodsresort.com/.

We will do a presentation in Klamath Falls on Friday evening at 6 pm at the new Omni Divers location. In addition, Oregon Public Broadcasting crew will be onsite to collect topside and underwater video footage of our activities. Please stop by if you are in the neighborhood.

We will get organized earlier than Friday night in order to see what everybody is going to bring as their share of shovels, tents, tarps, ropes, ice harnesses, cross cut saw, gas for the snow blower, the snow blower, blower oil, carabiners, dry clothing bags, several extra pairs of gloves, waterproof boots, dry socks, etc.

We need to provide special safety measures overnight so no one will fall in the hole, i.e. flagging, poles, etc.

Ice Diving March 2011: We have now established a date and will start in earnest for the preparations for the March 2011's ice dives. We will soon make room reservations in McCall, Idaho.

We will do a presentation in McCall on Friday evening at 6 pm at the new McCall Fire Station, McCall Idaho.

We still will need to get organized earlier than Friday night in order to see what everybody is going to bring as their share of shovels, tents, tarps, ropes, ice harnesses, cross cut saw, gas for the snow blower, the snow blower, blower oil, carabiners, dry clothing bags, several extra pairs of gloves, waterproof boots, dry socks, etc. We will need to think of special safety measures overnight so no one falls in the hole, i.e. flagging, poles, etc.

About the only gear we don't have for ice diving is the tent, we can try to get the same tent we used last year from one of the ice divers or we can fabricate one from blue tarps and pvc pipe.

We have been getting interest statements and now we are getting deposits to verify how much really serious interest we have in ice diving in February in Klamath Falls in Oregon and in March 2011 in Idaho.

 Please email omnidive@omnidivers.com if you are interested or want additional information.

Black Water Training

Posted on: February 13, 2012

You never know when you will find yourself in it….BLACK WATER!
Most of us got into diving because of the shows we had seen on TV, a movie we watch or stories from friends we had heard about their diving vacation. The images of diving in our heads were that of good visibility, colorful fish and wrecks that we could see from stem to stern. As a result of this, we took a diving course that was designed to take us to these places and see these sites. But is every dive conducted in good visibility water?

Visibility in water is generally referred to by horizontal and not vertical; this is a very important piece of information because it does affect the way visibility is expressed. Another important piece of information is what affects visibility. The two primary factors that affect visibility are suspended particles and light penetration through the water. For the most part, few divers enter into water that has zero visibility, but a select few do. Zero visibility is general defined by visibility as far as the end of arms reach to not being able to see your hands in front of your mask.

Diving in zero visibility is more of a mind game than anything else, but there are a lot of techniques and skills that are needed to perform these types of dives as safely as possible. The skills and techniques are not part of any sport level course such as open water certification, and they should never be learned without a trained professional supervising closely.

Just the entry into water with zero visibility can present some pretty dangerous possibilities. There have been several documented cases where divers performed improper entries and drove their legs knee-deep into soft mud and could not reach the surface unassisted. There is also the problem of not being able to see what is in front of you or over your head. Many lakes and reservoirs are man-made and have trees still standing just below the surface which present a long list of dangers for the unsuspecting diver.

The ERD 1 diver course addresses these issues and teaches the needed knowledge and skill sets to perform these types of dives in these conditions.

A common training practice, under properly trained supervision, is to simply have divers run a simple compass pattern and watch to see how often “the heads pop up.” The overwhelming claustrophobic feeling is just too much for some to handle or overcome. Don’t worry; Tenders are just as important on dives like these. On the other end of the diver spectrum is the diver that, while running the compass course, only surfaces after “running aground” in the cat tails and duck weed to raise their heads grinning to exclaim…”ran out of water!”

Wondering which diver best describes you? Get out with the Team and do some training…first chance you get!

For assistance preparing and scheduling training for your Team contact ERDI

http://www.tdisdi.com/wpsite/erdi/ or call 207.729.4201

Please email omnidive@omnidivers.com if you are interested or want additional information.

Recent Cruise Ship Grounding on Tuscany Coast Launches Teams into Action

Posted on: February 13, 2012

ERDI pleads with PSD TEAMS to train hard and be prepared!
By now no one in our field is unaware of the demise of the cruise liner Costa Concordia, just yards from the Italian coast. The dangers that it presented to the passengers and crew can be best summed up by the confirmed loss of some 17 souls on the ill-fated cruise.

As the operation moved from search & rescue to recovery, new concerns arose. From the ecological damages to the environment, the ship’s rapping of the ocean floor, as well as the massive amount of fuel on board, it brought back memories of the USA Gulf Coast fuel related disaster. Dangerous work conditions like these require extensive training and teamwork for optimum safety and mission success.

Multiple agencies show CNN how they train for underwater disasters in light of the cruise ship disaster in Italy.


For assistance preparing and scheduling Training for your Team contact ERDI
http://www.tdisdi.com/wpsite/erdi/ or call 207.729.4201

Please email omnidive@omnidivers.com if you are interested or want additional information.

Crime Scene Investigation vs. Non-Evidence Recovery

Posted on: February 13, 2012

By Bo Tibbets
The differences may at times be subtle BUT they do exist, so be prepared!

Does your Public Safety Dive Team perform both Crime Scene Investigations as well as Non- Evidence Recovery Operations? While many agencies are being tasked to perform with less resources and tighter restrictive budgets, we must not overextend ourselves with our capabilities. It is imperative that we exercise our trained ability to the level in which you are working and not beyond.

Let’s take a closer look as public safety divers. What is our role? What environments do we work in? What are we searching for? As crime scene investigators, we are piecing puzzles together to determine if a crime or foul play was actually committed. Could it have been a suicide or can we conclusively say it’s an accident? We, as crime scene investigators, are often times working backwards to find answers such as: Who committed the act? When was it carried out? Did the crime scene take place here or was the evidence discarded in this body of water? If it is in fact a body, who is the victim and what means were used to perpetrate the crime?

Most of the time our public safety dive teams are working in a recovery capacity. We are looking for evidence that may include weapons, cash registers, motorcycles and vehicles. Ultimately, they will be tasked with searching and recovering a body. Make note: “it is imperative that the operation being performed is safe and within the scope of your training and capabilities.”

At some point your dive unit may be asked to recover items that are non-evidentiary in nature. Perhaps an individual forgot to set their parking brake and the vehicle rolled backwards into a lake. Perhaps an individual’s water pump hose broke (in board motor) and the boat filled with water and sank. Does your public safety dive unit recover items such as boats and vehicles which have been submerged accidentally? What about someone who is driving while intoxicated and drives into a canal (the individual is able to extricate and get out on his own)? Does your dive unit recover the vehicle? Do you consider an ice dive to be a confined space? If so, you may be working under Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) within the US, Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for the UK and Diver Certification Board of Canada (DCBC) in Canada regulations, and there is a long list of others depending on the country in which you are working. I encourage you to ask yourself, “Is this a commercial dive operation or public safety dive operation? Am I taking on more liability than meets the letter of law?”

You may want to examine the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Competency Standard for Diving Operations (CSA Standard Z275.4) for Canada and in the US OSHA Regulations (standards 29 CFR) Part 1910, Subpart T regulations or whichever governmental standard you are held to within your respective country or province. It defines the regulations that are put in place for commercial divers and also gives public safety divers and scientific divers an exemption (in the US) under the statute. It is the responsibility of your team to define under which umbrella you are operating so as to limit the liability exposure you may face should an injury or death occur during the water operation

For assistance preparing and scheduling training for your Team contact ERDI

http://www.tdisdi.com/wpsite/erdi/ or call 207.729.4201

About the author:
Bo Tibbets’ career includes a marketing and economics degree from Colorado Mesa University and he is the CEO of PSDS – Public Safety Dive Supply/Services. He has been training and providing equipment to public safety personnel for over seven years within the realm of water operations including dive, swift water and surface ice operations. He is credentialed as adjunct professor under P.O.S.T. and teaches drowning investigations and various public safety dive programs at Colorado Mesa University in conjunction with the criminal justice department and the Western Colorado Peace Officers Academy. He is often called to instruct various law enforcement and fire service personnel with water related operations around the country and works closely with federal, state and local investigative entities with under water forensic investigations.

Please email omnidive@omnidivers.com if you are interested or want additional information.