It takes a special person to take on a dangerous job like the one the Shreveport Fire Department Dive Team does each day.
8 men and one woman train to be part of the elite dive team.
“We’re not diving in clear water, this isn’t recreational diving, this is dirty water and cold water,” Paul Hill, Shreveport Fire Department Dive Team Coordinator said.
Training for anything and everything.
“Whether it’s raining, cold, or hot. So whatever happens if we have to search for somebody or search for a weapon we can’t do it on every sunny day sometimes it’s got to be bad conditions.”
And doing it often
“We train once a month, we spend at least two hours of training once a month and three times a year we actually do six hours days, where we are in the pool six hours training.”
With very worn equipment.
“The equipment that we do dive with today, we do service it, but it is old equipment, we are not funded through the Shreveport Fire Department, but we do keep our gear up to date as far as servicing.”
Getting money by applying for federal and local grants like the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation Grant, community donations and maintenance money from SFD.
“Almost all the equipment that we have has been donated.”
It takes close to $5,000 to fully equip a diver before hitting the water.
But they aren’t letting the lack of money stop them from the job at hand.
“We got called 56 times last year, which in other words we don’t get called out to do water rescues a lot that’s why we train as much as we do, we need to be prepared for what we are doing.”
A high risk, low-frequency job.
“We estimate on Cross Lake during the summer we will have over 100,000 boaters on the lake, 100,000 people on the lake. And the frequency for something happening during that time is getting higher and higher,” Hill said.
Dawn Ramsey from the dive team says, “we have to acclimate our selves to any situation because we don’t know what’s going to happen and when it’s going to happen so you have to be ready to get into the water in any atmosphere.”
A job that you have to work as one to get it done.
”This is a team effort, we work as a team, as a family, we’re all here for the same outcome. Hopefully to recover everyone safely,” Ramsey said.
Hill says, ” we do this because we like to help people in there time of need.”
If would like to donate any diving equipment you can make a drop it off at the Shreveport Fire Department central station.