The Public Safety Diver (PSD) Workshop was held on July 22nd using an interactive media system to allow for members of PSD teams from around the world to participate with those based in the UK. Invitees included:
- UK police force dive teams, (Avon and Somerset, Metropolitan, South Wales, Scotland, Northwest Underwater search, Northumbria Underwater, Humberside, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire)
- Police and Fire and Rescue teams from the USA
- NIOSH fire department investigation team
- RCMP Police underwater search team
- Garda underwater search unit
- Hong Kong Fire Department dive team
- Belgium underwater search team
- Bermudan Defence Force
- German Police dive teams
- Dutch Police dive teams
- PSD trainers within the USA
The study is based on the work of a PSD and the incidents that have happened over the past 15 years and is looking at methods of improving the safety of the PSD at work. Within the UK there is a strong relationship with the regulator and stakeholders. The regulatory body provides documents that give a suggested framework for the stakeholders’ own operational procedures.
Discussions were held around a framework that had been produced following conversations with the PSD community on the methods used to carry out their operations. Participants felt that all course curricula should cover how the training was conducted, the minimum requirements a candidate needed before training commenced, the need for annual refresher training, and surface supply. There was a useful discussion on the need to eliminate the single failure point on the most popular full-face mask used by most dive teams. We discussed points on the cleaning of dive gear following deployment and the need to carry this out thoroughly on completion due to the different hazardous environments that divers may operate within.
The need to deploy divers quickly was also considered and it was concluded that the time taken to get on site and deploy the diver means that for 99.9 % of the time it would be too late to effect a rescue and more likely to be a body recovery.