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Rockton’s Dive and Rescue Unit expands to a full squad

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Firefighters have more at their disposal than just fire hoses. Sometimes, they have to conduct rescues underwater too.

In just two years, Rockton’s Dive and Rescue Unit went from a two man team to a full squad. 

“We’re up to 10 certified divers right now,” said Captain Tim Free, Rockton Fire Department.

“Being able to get on scene rapidly deploy divers or rescue personnel into the water increases that survivability factor,” Free said.

Brandon Roderick is one of the team’s new divers.

“I think it is a huge opportunity because there is not that many divers around this area and being able to become a diver here and giving my service to a community, it’s something great I feel inside of me,” said Brandon Roderick, EMT Diver Engineer.

Personnel wasn’t the only place Captain Tim Free felt the department fell short.
    
“I’m in charge of finding new gear, along with we have another Captain who’s a diver, Captain John King also,” Free said. “We kind of tag team gear where we need it to go, where we need it to be what standards we needed to meet.” 

Last year, the district replaced their flotation devices, scuba suits and tanks, which cost over $13,000. All ten divers also received countless hours of dive rescue training.

“It has really advanced our department in the capabilities that we can offer our tax payers,” Free said. “Having these divers certified and trained to a level just kind of adds that increase of services we can provide to our citizens.” 

With the summer fast approaching, the timing couldn’t have been better.

“Somebody gets into the water for the first time and they can’t swim, you know maybe they weren’t fortunate enough to have lessons and what not growing up,” Free said. “We’re there and we can act within seconds” 

“I’m very proud of Rockton’s training as whole,” Free said. “Our members are very reactive. They’re eager to learn, so that’s outstanding and it makes us better at our job.”

Captain Free says that the department is still anticipating phase two of their equipment package. Currently, their main focus is finishing up two more classes and upgrading additional gear.

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