Across the world 50 Public Safety Divers (PSD) from the Police and Fire and Rescue services around the world from 2005 to the present, have died either during deployment in an attempt to rescue someone that has already been in the water beyond what might be survivable or during a training scenario. A large number of these fatalities were avoidable with correct oversight and proper training.
- The number of other types of incidents is not known as only the fatalities tend to be reported in news media.
- Recreational diving agencies, who receive data from divers, Search and Rescue Agencies, hyperbaric facilities and news media on incidents occurring around the world, would indicate that fatalities are a small part of the overall number of incidents annually.
- Of the fatalities recorded, 22 occurred during training exercises. One fatality occurred during an early stage training session in a swimming pool.
Aims and objectives
Around the world, many teams are involved in some way with PSD. This project aimed to collate data on PSD activities for each country and to review how they are regulated by the respective authorities. A further aim was to look at the risk assessments used by the teams prior to deploying a diver, and at the training methods, the supervision of the diving project, the equipment used, how incidents were reported, and how lessons were learnt during operations.
To carry out the research a literary search for diving incidents involving Public Safety Divers (PSD) was undertaken along with a request for information from PSD teams, trainers and regulatory bodies on aspects on how a team works. A workshop was also held to discuss diving practices, training and regulating of PSD’s.