Williams County, ND
WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) - For 20 years, the Williams County
sheriff's office diving team has been helping to rescue drowning
Sgt. Randy Miller, the captain of the 11-member team and one of
its original members, said it was started in 1982 after research on
cold water rescues.
"A doctor discovered that in temperatures of water colder than
70 degrees, people can be revived even if they've been under water
for an hour," Miller said.
Divers must wear specific suits for different types of
environment, and they can easily don an extra 100 pounds of gear
before they reach the water. The gear includes a 40-pound scuba air
tank, a regulator to breathe, a jacket to put over the wet suit
along with the wet suit, mask, fins and snorkel and a 40-pound
Miller said the weight belt is needed because the texture of wet
suit would make the diver float and more weight is needed to allow
divers to submerge.
Williston Police Sgt. Charlie Tanner, also a long-term member of
the team, was on hand last week to show the young campers the gear.
He and Miller agree that murky water is a problem in the region.
"It's like chocolate milk down there," Tanner said.
To compensate, divers must carefully probe the dark water
through arm motions known as the half-moon pattern.
"You do a hand sweep for protection and to find objects,"
Just as important are the people watching for the diver on
shore, with a string used as a communication link. A diver could
tug a set signal to notify the land crew that something has been
found, that he wants to return, or that he is having trouble.
More sophisticated communication equipment will allow a
full-masked diver to speak to the ground crew while underwater.
The Williams County diving team has assisted in two calls this
year. "We're a regional diving team," Miller said. "We're called
for rescue and recovery in McKenzie, Divide, Mountrail counties and
In a regular year, the team will perform six diving drills in
different environments, conditions and locations, including a
winter cold dive. The team has a special ice saw.
Miller said some dives are done near submerged cars and others
are done in the Little Muddy River. Clear-water dives often are
rehearsed in Brush Lake, in eastern Montana.
Miller said the deepest level for the team so far has been about
Besides the local practices, the team members are required to
get training in dive rescue and attend ice diving school.
"The more experienced they are in different environments, the
better diver they are," Miller said. "Our main reason that we
were established is to try and save lives."
(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press
OK, I'll bite, is it just a nice story? Were they disbanded?
It is nice to see the media give us some good press, I don't think many people have any idea of what we do. Most people think we just sit around, and the police just give out tickets.
I can't say for sure, WHY they posted this on the AP wires. Perhaps, just an interesting feature they decided to run nationwide.
Of course....what about the other 14,000 some odd dive teams around the USA?
Whatever..it's good PR for the fire services!;)