The Public Safety Division of DUI is always looking for opportunities to help increase safety through information and education for Public Safety Divers. The below information was provided to us by Dive Team Commander, Scott Huff, of the Indianapolis Fire Department.
Fish habitats come in a variety of shapes, sizes and materials and provide fish cover. In a fisherman’s eye, these are gold mines for harvesting big trophy fish. However, to the Public Safety Diver, they cause major safety problems with entanglement in low visibility and interrupt good search pattern integrity. These habitats are being made endlessly in what is known as “Rush for the Brush” projects and are being placed all over the US. They are being placed in rivers, lakes and ponds from single units around the shallow edges to multiple units being placed on top of each other in the deep areas.
On December 15th 2014, while performing monthly Dive training in a private lake, the Indianapolis Fire Department Dive Team was faced with this entanglement hazard for the first time. The diver started his pattern beyond the habitat and, as he made his first sweep, the line became entangled. As the diver tried to un-foul his line, the line became more entangled in what he described as a lot of PVC pipes. The diver was unable to reach the center of the habitat where the rope was entangled. As the Diver attempted again to un-foul the line it tightened and pulled the diver face first into the bottom of the lake. The diver followed dept. procedure signaling for the back-up diver via verbal coms. to assist. The Diver was able to disconnect from his chest harness and surface to keep the back-up diver from entering the entanglement. The line had become so fouled into this habitat that the safest end result was to cut the OTS tethered communications rope at the entanglement point closest to the shore. The divers were both OK, remained calm, fell back on their training, and overcame this seemingly impossible hazard.
I would strongly encourage all PSD teams to make your divers aware of this new entanglement hazard and work towards training your divers on solutions to overcome this hazard. They can be found on line at numerous web site locations.
Captain Scott Huff
IFD Dive Commander
(the above story was taken from an email from Diving Unlimited International)