Emergency responders with the Ryan Township Dive Team and Rescue Squad provided a demonstration of their apparatus, water safety, and dive team rescue methods to a crowd of onlookers at the Locust Lake State Park Saturday evening.
Ryan Township Dive Team and Rescue Squad Chief Darryl Harris explained the many tools and equipment located on their Dive S.A.R. Rehab response vehicle, to include 14 tanks that are ready for immediate use. Their special response vehicle is capable of sustaining 10 emergency divers at once for any given rescue operation requiring oxygen. He also talked about ways to survive or help someone in a water emergency, stressing the importance of not becoming a victim yourself.
He also pointed out that the last known location of a drowning individual is one of the most important bits of information a rescue team can use when responding quickly to a water emergency. He added, "Call 911 if you see someone go under and doesn't resurface.
There are a number of types of rescue suits. The most popular types are the dry and wet suit. The dry suit keeps the diver dry while also helping keep the body temperature at a safe level. Some dive suits have up to 40 pounds of weights and inflatable compartments or buoyancy compensators, to help keep the diver underwater longer and with less effort. If possible, someone should stay behind and keep an exact location of where the person was last known."
Other members of the dive rescue team displayed their diving suits and equipment that goes with it. Every 12 feet under water, the temperature drops about 10 degrees. Divers are also required to carry two survival knives as well as a pair of trauma clothing shears. Water also cools the body 25 times faster. An underwater black and white camera, which can stretch as long as 150 feet underwater, was also demonstrated to the crowd.
Another concern for divers is nitrogen narcosis while diving, also known inert gas narcosis. It is a reversible alteration in consciousness that occurs while scuba diving at depth. Narcosis produces a state similar to alcohol intoxication or nitrous oxide inhalation, and can occur during shallow dives, but usually does not become noticeable until greater depths, beyond 30 meters (100 ft).
Harris also pointed out the many reservoirs and other unsupervised swimming holes carelessly occupied by individuals. In some conditions it is almost impossible to see underwater and rescue divers are limited to using the time-consuming 'brail' or feeling method, of searching for victims. He noted these are key locations for water tragedies. He added, "The first hour is strictly 'rescue mode'."
Future programs are planned at the park that will revolve around the use of other means of rescue, such as tracking dogs and other long distance search and rescue methods.