Are we a help or not? Looking for some input from your view. Just to give you some info. I started A volunteer water search team we use Jet Ski's also have divers on call 24/7 we are not associated with any Department. We Train 7 months out of the year and when we are not training I go do training myself like Ice Rescue so I can get to train others. I am a Master diver and have 4 S&R divers under me. My instructor tained the State PD and a few Fire Divers. Our association President is USAF Pararescue 10 years and is well trained S&R diver as well. What do you think we could do to get on a call list. As for now we just show up on scene. Some look down on us and some let us hep. Jet Ski water search is a great Idea do to, we can get into places that a boat can't. We do train so we don't disturb a crime scene. We would love to train with the Fire Dept. so we can work together and work as one.We have thousands of dollars of our own money invested and would like to put it into more use.

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I know of a few water/dive search teams in our area that were form without being connected to a fire or rescue company. Some members were members of fire or rescue companies in order to be affiliated with the dive team but that has changed over the years. Our county team has two stations one East and one West in the Southern end of the county. One station is behind a volunteer station in their own building but is separted from the company. The other is a large two story house on a barge at a local marina. Both stations have boats and vehicles to go anywhere in the county. Their members don't have to be affiliated to another company like they use to. There are more water/dive teams in our county connected to vol fire or rescue companies or the county career service.
Our county volunteer fire and rescue association recognizes them as a company of the county so they receive tax money.
If a water rescue happens all teams are alerted and respond to any part of the county.
i have been down this road myself in my county. first of all have a sit down with the emergency response people and introduce yourselves and prepare to hear some hard questions and give some answers. professionalize by joining NASAR (as a group) and document all training od your people, this will give you some credibility. having trained people through the military is one thing but AF pararescue is in a class of its own and i'm sure your folks aint quite up with them. the key to your success is being accepted by the establiahed locals and getting them to let you function. if you get froze out i suggest you dont jump calls. sell yourselves to the public and let them bring the pressure. on calls send a rep to the command post and offer your services. advise them what your capabilities are and remember not to get in over your head. the key is for the established emergency services to accept your existance-THEN- they should let you participate

in my case we got a donated boat from wellcraft, lots of public donations and our training sessions were open to the public and we exposed ourselves to the public as public events, participated in other's funraisers and stuff ilke that. initally we were rejected but once we got a foot in the door with the US coast guard we were set and operated for many years until political crap shut us down
Are you a chartered emergency response organization? If not, that's where to start.
Members trained in the NIMS/ICS? If not, take that training.

What kind of water emergencies typically occur there? Surface rescue in calm water? Swiftwater Rescue? Marine/Surf Rescue?

Diving isn't really as important. "Dive Rescue" is generally an oxymoron.

Personal watercraft are good search tools, but are not great rescue platforms outside of tow-in surfing, cliff surf, etc. You can't put numerous victims on a jet ski, you can't transport seriously injured patients on a jet ski, and you can't deploy effective structural search teams in flooding from jet skis.

Tailor the organization and the equipment to what is the most likely to occur.

Another option would be to affiliate with a fire department or rescue squad, but you would have to set some mutually-agreeable ground rules in advance - would you be special rescue members only, or would you have to be firefighters, too?
You all have some great advise. We are not traned in NIMS/ICS nor do we do swiftwater rescue yet.We do and have 1 jetski fully dressed for Surf rescue. We are now looking for a place of our own as a quarters for us, but it takes money that we dont have much of.Most of the departments know me as a individual but are not familiar with our organization that we started. I have been on dives with the dive team and also did some water serach on the jet ski, But it ended there.We also document all training and document all S&R we do. As far as training I have more certifications then I know what to do with. As far as what Russ said, AF pararescue training is it's own class and Shawn is more than qualified to do water search as he shows us stuff to be aware of. He is a great asset to our organization. We have a few FF in the organization but are not well trained in water rescue, We are working on that. When we show up on scene we are verry professional with our approach to the situation. We use land to craft communication so we can be well aware of the circumstances.
Ashfire, What area are you from?
I am in Maryland around Washington DC. There are two counties who's dive teams were formed by members so that there would be a team for divers wanting to help the fire and rescue companies.
Depts had boats or some sort of watercraft when they were needed but the divers formed formed so that they would be called to help.
I know the one for our county was around since the 60s or longer than that before they built stations and were made a complete unit of the county. The equipment was kept at someone's house before that.
Some of the members were US Goverment personnel, military or police divers.
A good source is Washington County, Maryland Special Operations Company 20. They are located in Hagerstown, Maryland and specialize in swiftwater rescue and other types of technical rescue.

Other water rescue teams that can give you good advice are listed below:

Knoxville Volunteer Rescue Squad (TN)

Volunteer State Water Rescue Squad (TN)

Lambertville/New Hope Rescue Squad (NJ/PA)

If you want to maximize your group's marketability to neighboring fire/rescue groups, don't just focus on diving. Diving almost always is a body recovery. If you do surface rescue and swiftwater rescue, you'll save more people and help solidify your group as a critical community resource.
These are the websites to some of the teams in our area.
Some great links.I wonder if anyone would have time to talk to me if I called them.
To answer your question Ben, I have ICS 100, 200, 700, 800 . Is there anything you recommend that I get other then them listed here?

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