Fire Department hopes to fund new dive team - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Fire Department hopes to fund new dive team

Posted: Updated:
  • More WALB News10 HeadlinesMore News HeadlinesMore>>

  • 17-year-old charged in shooting

    17-year-old charged in shooting

    Saturday, August 23 2014 11:00 AM EDT2014-08-23 15:00:11 GMT
    Source: WTOCSource: WTOC
    Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police have charged a youth arrested in Garden City with the shooting of a Savannah man during a robbery Aug. 3.

    More >>
    Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police have charged a youth arrested in Garden City with the shooting of a Savannah man during a robbery Aug. 3.

    More >>
  • Streets of Ferguson stay calm after violent nights

    Streets of Ferguson stay calm after violent nights

    Streets of Ferguson stay calm after violent nights

    Saturday, August 23 2014 11:00 AM EDT2014-08-23 15:00:11 GMT
    (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson). Protesters march Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo.(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson). Protesters march Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo.
    Ferguson's streets were peaceful for a third night as tensions between police and protesters continued to subside after nights of violence and unrest erupted when a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black 18-year-old.A small stream of protesters marched in the St. Louis suburb as night fell Friday.More >>
    Ferguson's streets were peaceful for a third night as tensions between police and protesters continued to subside after nights of violence and unrest erupted when a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black 18-year-old.A small stream of protesters marched in the St. Louis suburb as night fell Friday.More >>
  • Albany fire investigating house fire as arson

    Albany fire investigating house fire as arson

    Albany fire investigating house fire as arson

    Saturday, August 23 2014 10:21 AM EDT2014-08-23 14:21:32 GMT
    604 West Gordon Avenue House Fire604 West Gordon Avenue House Fire
    Albany Fire Department responded to a house fire Saturday morning on West Gordon Avenue.More >>
    Albany Fire Department responded to a house fire Saturday morning on West Gordon Avenue.More >>

Rescue crews in Albany must rely on volunteers or out-of-town dive teams to help during a drowning or underwater search, but the Albany Fire Department wants to change that.

On Tuesday city commissioners tentatively approved the funding needed to train and equip 30 employees.

Fire Department Chief James Carswell says it often takes a long time to recover a drowning victim and bring closure to a family in Albany. But quicker searches can make for a world of difference for a grieving family.

Chief Carswell says in Albany they average two drownings a year.

"If we happen to be able to hook them successfully, you still have to bring the body to the bank and leave it there while the coroner comes and pronounces [them] dead. We try to limit access to the family but they know if there is public access nearby they will be grouped up there."

Sometimes a body isn't found for days, and crews are left with more primitive recovery efforts.

"Usually we have to wait for the natural process for the body to decompose [that] causes it to rise. [And] it doesn't come straight up. It slowly rises, which means it is carried further down the river, and at some point it will break [the] surface and that process could last [from] a day to a week."

But officials hope to shorten that time frame, as commissioners tentatively approved $60,000 to buy ten sets of gear and train 30 employees.

Chief Carswell says the initial 30 people trained for the dive team will be employees with the Albany Fire Department, so they won't have to hire any additional people. They will instead be responsible for an additional duty.

They hope to have a team trained in about six months.

Copyright 2013 WALB.  All rights reserved.