Local Rescue Dive Team Prepares For Boating Season - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Local Rescue Dive Team Prepares For Boating Season

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They're at the YMCA at least twice a month, once a week during boating season practicing drills over and over to make sure each diver is ready if the emergency call comes. 

"Bad things happen and we want to be at least get our equipment together and make sure that we stay focused and keep our skills sharp," said Big River Rescue and Recovery dive team instructor Mark Poulos.

That's why Big River Rescue and Recovery dive team trains frequently. It's the only dive team of its kind in the area and members are all volunteers. 

Today they're practicing oxygen depletion drills, so they know what to do if they're running out of air down below. 

"The goal today is to have them underwater, practicing tying knots running out of air and then as they cannot hold their breath any longer, they calmly take their weight belt remove it and come to the surface," said diving medical officer Dr. Richard Sadler.

Dr. Sadler said although the drill sounds simple in a stressful situation, it could cost a diver their life. 

They also practice rescue drills.

"We'll put a diver down and we'll have another diver suit up, go in, bring the diver up from the bottom and bring them back to the area," said Poulos. "Sometimes they'll be performing artificial respiration in the water."

But Poulos said a rescue isn't always what the team is called out for. 

"Things that we would do if we were on the scene at the time of the incident," said Poulos. "Unfortunately, that's not usually the case. Unfortunately we get a call long after the fact and we serve as a recovery mode."

Police and fire departments around the area know they can call on the dive team if they need their assistance. 

"Some agencies will call us out as a preemptive action to get staged to an area where we can respond quicker, if needed," said Poulos. "Others will wait, because they know we're a volunteer team, they'll wait until it's beyond their resource capabilities."

Poulos said the team is strictly a resource for first responders.

The Big River Rescue and Recovery dive team organized about 4 years ago, now made up of about 20 dedicated team members.

 

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