The North Collier Fire & Rescue Department does everything from the air, land, sea and even underwater.
I’ve seen fire trucks get caught up in the scene, but what about fireboats? Or a fire scuba driver? Rich Kolko, a WINK News Safety & Security specialist, and Eric Mills, a video journalist, saw them in action.
A fire truck arrives, but instead of pulling a hose, grab a wetsuit and scuba tank and head for the fireboat.
Mission: NCFR Michael Matarazzo and the diving team underwater rescue.
“Most of the time we are at zero. [visibility]”Matarazzo said.
The condition of the Gulf was good on this day, but it is not normal.
“Most of the time we are in canals and the like, and the bottoms are usually quite silty,” he explained. “You’re not going to see anything. You’re lucky if you put your hand in front of you.”
That’s why they learn to search by hand.
“Everything is out of my mood.”
Some things you don’t want to find.
“When we stir the bottom or make some noise, sharks and crocodiles move away.”
While on the surface, diving rescue coordinator Lieutenant Brent Lowell controls the search pattern.
“We have people outboard. We need to find them. We need to come here and start the search pattern with our dive team,” says Loewel.
Divers can search using lines placed underwater and communicate while underwater.
But it’s not just diving.
“We can fight fires on the water,” Lowell said. “We do a lot of rescue, such as the sinking of a boat, the missing person, the missing kayaker, etc. If you give it a name, we will do it.”
The team recently worked with the Collier County Sheriff’s Office to successfully rescue two missing kayaks.
Lieutenant Ted Bus has been a boat crew member for over 20 years and recalled one recent rescue.
“Late night he came back from Key West. He anchored offshore and anchored … in a really, really rough sea,” he said. “That night we safely took him off the boat.”
There is no same day on the water.
“Many things happen here on medical phones of all kinds, emergency marine rescue type phones, fires and boats on weekends,” said the bus.
These are not weekend divers. It takes about two years for them to be certified as part of the dive team.
North Collier firefighters save lives underwater and underwater
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