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$50,000 federal grant funds PSD training and equipment

Discussion in 'Public Safety Divers/Search and Rescue' started by BladesRobinson, Oct 18, 2008.

  1. BladesRobinson

    BladesRobinson ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

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    Cars dunked in watery training exercise

    By Lynne Klaft CORRESPONDENT

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Dive team members from several area towns wait as a training vehicle is sunk in Whalom Lake. (T&G Staff/DAN GOULD)[FONT=verdana,arial,helvetica][/FONT][​IMG]



    LEOMINSTER—
    Roy W. Roberts thought the Leominster and Lunenburg fire departments were on a water rescue call, but then he saw people putting a car into Whalom Lake.

    “I stopped by to see what all the excitement was about,” said the Fitchburg resident.

    What he saw was a training exercise for 21 divers from the Leominster, Lunenburg, Fitchburg and Sterling fire departments, part of a regional dive rescue team.

    They are training this week to be certified in boat-based operations — search, rescue and recovery, and light salvage and recovery — finding, securing and raising heavy items that are underwater.

    Two steam-cleaned cars provided by E.T. Coté & Son of Leominster were sunk into the lake and retrieved by divers under the direction of Dive Rescue International of Fort Collins, Colo.

    “The owner of Coté removed the engine, transmission, fuel tank and steam-cleaned the cars, making them environmentally clean,” said Mark M. Matley, Leominster Fire Department diver, firefighter and coordinator of the training.

    Divers were then sent to attach inflatable bags to the cars, which were 10 to 15 feet under the surface. The bags were filled with air from scuba tanks, and the cars raised and winched back to shore by a Fitchburg Special Operations truck.

    The divers also are learning how to search for and rescue missing swimmers and victims of a capsized canoe.

    “We actually had an incident right here at the boat ramp about a year and a half ago, when a patron from one of the establishments across the street drove his car into the lake,” said Firefighter Matley.

    Dive Rescue International instructors Peter J.P. Gannon of Florida and John Sodenburg of the Pittsburgh River Rescue Patrol took team members through basic scuba skills in the Fitchburg State College pool on Monday. They also received classroom education and then live scenarios on the lake.

    “Doing a water rescue or retrieval is very manpower-intensive. It’s nice to have all the departments out; everybody is getting closer to being on the same page, and we now have standardized procedures for all four departments. This will pay off someday,” said Firefighter Jeff M. Vaillette of Leominster, a dive team member.

    Lunenburg Firefighter Gregory G. Dik, a dive team member, learned to drive a boat on a rescue and practiced underwater search patterns and ways of communicating and working in low visibility.

    “This training has added a lot to all of our skill sets and was a good opportunity for us to all work together as a team, to get to know all of the guys and their skill levels,” said Lunenburg Deputy Fire Chief Patrick A. Sullivan, a dive team leader.

    Spectator Norman G. Bernard, a Lunenburg resident, also stopped by when he saw the firetrucks at the boat ramp. He remembered the ice races on the lake during the 1970s.

    “They had them every Sunday afternoon in January or February, depending on how thick the ice got. It was a pretty good crowd and fun to watch, if you could stand the cold,” Mr. Bernard said.

    The races were canceled, according to Mr. Bernard, after the truck of one of the participants went through the ice.

    “The person got out OK, no injuries, but it cost so much to get that truck out, the town said no more races,” he said.

    The regional dive team anticipates its next training sessions will include swift water searches and rescues.

    “Think about all the rain we had recently. Any of our rivers in the springtime would qualify,” said Firefighter Matley.

    The $50,000 federal grant that provided the training was also used to buy underwater communications equipment, an identification card system, and a laptop computer, and provided training for department members in the care of public safety dive teams’ mental and physical well-being during an incident.
     
  2. dittrimd

    dittrimd Force Fin Diver ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Coventry, CT
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    What grant path did they get this money from? Was it the Fire Act Grant from Homeland Securty? Do you have a contact with these guys and would they be willing to share their narrative for the successful grant award. I would love the opportunity to get my regional dive team $50K!! These guys are right in my back yard so I may try to contact them.

    Great post, thanks Blades!!

    Mark D.
     
  3. Jay_SMART_Diver

    Jay_SMART_Diver Public Safety Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: New Braunfels, TX
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    Amen to that...if anyone can get a hold of the grant info please pass it along, that money could go a long way for some much needed equipment.
     
  4. BladesRobinson

    BladesRobinson ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

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    I just spoke to Pete Gannon (the instructor) and he believes that the grant was from Homeland Security. Coincidently, the chief's wife who applied for the grant was one of the speakers at the recent IADRS Conference and she shared information on how she has obtained funds for their department. I will see if I can get a copy of the narrative for their "dive grant" and send it along. It may take some time since I am at Vegas (DEMA) manning both the IADRS & DRI booths. If this escapes my mind by the end of the week, please "rattle my cage" via a PM and I'll get to work!

    Thanks in advance for understranding. After a tradeshow I get swamped with requests for information and follow-up.

    Regards,

    Blades
     
  5. dittrimd

    dittrimd Force Fin Diver ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Coventry, CT
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    Yesterday I contacted the chief from one of the departments mentioned in the article. He emailed me back right away and put me in contact with the dive commander and the grant writer via email. I have yet to hear from them but I will keep everyone informed. I may send an email out to them today to initiate contact. I hope to share more than just the grant information. It sounds like they may be a newer dive team and my hope is that we can open the lines of communication to share information and help each other out. I will ask if they would be willing to provide their narrative to whoever would like to use it. (Keeping fingers crossed!!)

    Mark D.
     
  6. bargemedic1

    bargemedic1 Garibaldi

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: TX
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    Did anyone ever get the info on the grants used to get the training & equipment? What about the grant narrative info?
     
  7. dittrimd

    dittrimd Force Fin Diver ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Coventry, CT
    223
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    I received an email today from the team leader stating how busy he is and when he gets a chance he will get in touch with me. I will keep everyone posted once I hear something.

    While I would love it if I could get their actual narrative so I might be able to use use it to get ideas in a grant for my team I would understand if they were reluctant to give it out just because I know how much work goes into writing a succesful grant. I have worked on several grants for my FD with a few successes. I will appreciate any help or guidance they can offer us.

    Mark D.
     
  8. frothchild

    frothchild DIR Practitioner

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    I know that in the Worcester area, Charlton FD is currently utilizing the Leary grant program to equip the new dive rescue team.
     
  9. seco divemaster17

    seco divemaster17 Divemaster Candidate

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: port jervis, new york
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    hi all if you could please let us know what grant they used that way other teams my try to thanks divemaster in sparrowbush ny
     
  10. acamato

    acamato Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Long Island, NY
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