The Town of Greenwich is situated in the lower Northwest corner of Connecticut along the coast of Long Island Sound. In addition to the vast open waters of the Sound, Greenwich has a number of lakes, ponds, rivers and streams including the Mianus River in Riverside. During the summer months, residents and visitors enjoy the beauty of Town beaches such as Greenwich Point and Byram Beach. The Town also operates a ferry service to Great Captain Island and Island Beach, two islands just south of the Greenwich coastline. Other locations in Town, including the Mianus River,
The vast amount of open water combined with Greenwich’s beautiful landscape are great destinations for local residents and for visitors. Unfortunately,
When a incident occurs and the services of the Dive Team are requested, members of the team respond either directly to the scene or the firehouse. In the event of a possible “rescue,” divers are able to suit up in the back of Rescue 5, the Department’s primary rescue vehicle. The team often will respond with other apparatus including Squad 5 (which will bring the boat).
Once on-scene, the Dive Team Leader or the first arriving senior member of the Team will begin a scene assessment and size-up. In the case of a drowning, this involves interviewing witnesses, determining a last scene point and determining whether or not to initiate a dive operation. It is also during this time that the team, in consultation with medical personnel and other officials, decides whether or not the operation is a rescue or recovery.
Prior to entering the water, each diver is given a quick medical and neurological assessment to ensure that they are fit to dive. Divers are than rotated throughout an operation. For safety reasons, there is always a backup diver ready to enter the water in the event the primary diver encounters a problem. Trained surface support personnel assist the divers in dressing as well as in directing them while they are underwater.
Diving conditions around this region are typically extremely poor. Divers often experience little to no visibility and are forced to search an area entirely by feel. It is also not uncommon for divers to encounter various entanglement hazards underwater including fishing line, garbage and other debris. Public safety diving can be extremely dangerous.
Due to the lack of visibility and the potential for becoming entangled, divers are always tethered via a rope. Trained surface support personnel use this rope to direct the diver where to search throughout an operation. The team is also equipped with an underwater communications system that allows divers and surface support personnel to talk to one another. This allows the diver to relay important information to the surface and to other divers. Using the communications system and “tugs” on the rope, the
Drowning’s are extremely emotional and difficult events for everyone involved, especially for the family of the victim. In the event of a possible drowning, the Sound Beach Dive Team will appoint a family liaison. This person will meet with the family regularly to discuss any new developments and what the divers are doing.
At the conclusion of any diving operation, all members of the Dive Team are offered confidential counseling and CISD services.