Bath Recruiting New Dive Team Members For Public Safety Dive Team
Warm Springs, VA – A tragedy last year at Lake Moomaw in Alleghany County spurred the Falling Spring Rescue Squad to rebuild its public safety dive team. A drowning at the lake made Andy Seabolt realize that the rescue squad needed to have diving capability in house, close to home. The squad had to rely on Virginia State Police divers, who are spread through different regions.
It can take anywhere from one to three hours for them to arrive. Seabolt is the Bath County Emergency Services Coordinator and a volunteer with the Falling Spring Rescue Squad and Fire Department where he also serves as the water rescue officer.
“Originally I thought a dive team was for recovery” he says. “I felt like any money we had we should spend on bandaids and oxygen for our trucks. The fatality we had last year at Moomaw, it changed my mind because there is a two to three hour window there in that cold water – you could get someone back. And on top of that, when we were there, the victims family was there also, and they were very distraught. [It’s] more than just EMS, it’s psychological well being; I put myself if their shoes cause I felt totally helpless because we were doing all that we could. We had divers in the water and just to see them sitting there waiting and wondering, my heart went out to them.”
The revamped public safety dive team is made up of members of the Falling Spring Rescue Squad, with a mix of basic and more advanced divers. The team can do rescue and recovery and Seabolt says it’s developing a relationship with the Alleghany County Sheriff’s Office to do underwater criminal investigation.
The dive team’s primary focus is Lake Moomaw and the Jackson River, but it will go wherever it’s needed in Virginia or West Virginia. Seabolt says training goals this year are to get all divers up to rescue diver certification, to take dive training courses with underwater criminal investigation, and to find more members for the team.
“What we’re wanting to do is have our dive team together, but we want to open our doors to other folks if there interested regionally” says Seabolt. “Right now we’re talking to some guys in Allegheny, Covington and a guy in Highland who are wanting to be a part of a public safety dive team and we want to open the door to those folks. Now obviously we can’t afford to buy all the equipment and training, but if their home departments are willing to pay for their equipment and training they’d be part of our team.”
For more information on the public safety dive team, call Andy Seabolt at 540-839-7236.