Coast Firefighters Plunge Into Dive Rescue Training

One of the most important aspects of a dive rescue is communication between the diver and his lineman on the shore. With some relatively new technology, the diver can talk directly to his teammate and that's important.

"It's completely dark (underwater)," explained Scott Dubuisson, the Long Beach Dive Team Coordinator. "It could be the middle of the night, it could be the middle of a swamp someplace, so it gives him some sense of comfort to know that the guys on top can hear them and if they get in a bind, they can help him out."

Even without the headsets, dive teams can communicate using rope.

"You can tug a certain amount of times and that will tell the diver to switch directions and that will give him a little more rope and he'll change and go in a different search pattern and when he gets to the end of that, we'll tug again and he'll go back the other way and we're searching like, if you think of a Y or a V," Picayune Fire Marshal Keith Brown said.

These are some of the skills, firefighters are learning this weekend. They're also finding that out, that searching underwater can be difficult.

"It's almost like being in a house fire where everything's totally blacked out and you can't see anything," Picayune firefighter Danny Manley said.

Firefighters won't see anything extra in their paychecks after receiving the certification. And when they're called, most often it will be because someone has drowned. They're doing it because they think it's important. That's why nine Picayune firefighters have signed up for the training.

"If there was a missing body in a pond or in a creek, we'd have to call somebody from over an hour away to get to Picayune to respond to something like that," Manley said.

In addition to the Picayune firefighters, four Harrison County volunteer firefighters also participated, along with seven firefighters from Long Beach and one from Ocean Springs.