Helping Our Local Dive Team Evolve

If you’re not an avid, certified diver, it may not sound like a big deal. But it really is.

The truth is, the right valve on a search-and-rescue diver’s breathing apparatus can make a major difference in their ability to perform their duties.

Our own Wayne County dive team—the Wayne County Search and Rescue Unit—started out as a group of mostly recreational divers. Since then, however, the group has evolved into a highly professional and organized unit as part of the Wooster Township Fire Department.

The 17-member team recently got a major upgrade, which is helping the team continue its evolution. The upgrade is in the type of valves in their breathing devices.

Rawhide Fire Hose’s own President Keith Eriksen and dive team member, recently donated $1,000 to upgrade to the DIN-style valves. Eriksen has more than 20 years of diving experience, is a master diver and has witnessed first-hand the local dive team’s development.

“The dive team is kind of turning a corner from good guys trying to make a difference, by giving back to the community, into a professional underwater, search-and-rescue unit,” Eriksen is quoted as saying in an article in the Wooster Daily Record. “As the (dive team) is turning the corner from recreational diving, it needs more specialized equipment.”

DIN valves are preferred to yoke-style valves since the later is more for recreational diving. While perfectly safe, they can cause problems if the diver bumps into something overhead.

Technical divers prefer DIN valves because they often need to go into tight spaces where it is likely there will an obstruction or something overhead. Search-and-rescue diving is considered to be “technical” in nature and calls for the use of a DIN style valve.

The DIN valve became the point of the donation after Eriksen asked Dallas Terrell—a firefighter/EMT/dive team member at Wooster Township—what equipment he would like to see upgraded.

The dive team is completely funded through donations and contributions because it receives no money through taxes.

“The unit relies heavily on grants and donations to maintain this operation,” Terrell is quoted as saying in the Daily Record article. “Receiving donations like this allows us to maintain our equipment and keep items we have to upgrade.”

These types of upgrades from donations are something we at Rawhide Fire Hose are passionate about for our local firefighting and search-and-rescue teams. In fact, each month we donate $1 per new Facebook “Like” or Twitter “Follower” we receive along with other donations and contributions we make throughout the year.

This type of community involvement is what has made the Wayne County Fire and Rescue Association such a fantastic resource for our area. To find out more about this homegrown gold mine, check out this post on the WCFRA.

(SOURCE: The Wooster Daily Record)

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About The Author: Keith Eriksen

Keith has been the president of Rawhide Fire Hose for nearly 20 years. He is a member of the Wooster Township Fire Department and serves with the Wayne County Underwater Search and Rescue unit. He has extensive knowledge of valves and hydraulics from years of experience in the oil and natural gas production business.In addition to being an avid scuba diver with master diver endorsements he is also an instrument rated private pilot, certified for high performance and complex aircraft.He enjoys landscape and gardening work, gourmet cooking, spending time with his (grown) children and traveling with his wife, Vicki.

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