2016 was a year of re-building for Clark County Dive Rescue. As with any volunteer organization, personnel come and go with the tides of their other obligations. 2014 and 2015 experienced an ebb in CCDRT activities that was reversed this year.
Emergency Response diving is not a trivial undertaking. It requires a level of dedication and training unqiue among divers- to be willing to dive in all kinds of conditions; cold, black water, contaminated water, swift water. To undertake a level of financial committment to purchase your own equipment, train at your own expense to provide a level of professional competence that your team mates and community can reply upon in an emergency. To be willing to sacrifice your personal time each month to attend business meetings and training. To participate in fundraising and community outreach and education. To sign up to be called out for emergencies any time of day or night. These things require a large number of people to undertake a large effort in order to present a functional team to the emergency management function of our county.
2016 was the year we re-built that capacity, more or less from scratch. We trained and certified new divers to the Operations Level of ERDI, filed applications for new members to become Washington State Emergency Workers (with background checks), shepherded our entire team through initial and refresher FEMA ICS training, and worked on our intra-team communications and coordinations skills.
All of that work has paid off. As we enter 2017, CCDRT is back and operational, ready to be called out by CRESA for any regional water-related emergency needs via the Active 911 app.
Much thanks to our emergency management community partners in the Clark Sheriff's Office, CRESA, and the Washignton Emergency Management Department. Special thanks to our local private business partner Seven Seas Scuba for supporting our team with special rates on equipment and air.
Accidental calls now make up about Twenty Percent of all calls to CRESA 911. That may not seem like a lot, but when you factor in that by state law CRESA 911 needs to call you back, to verify there actually is not an emergency it starts to really add up!! In 2015, CRESA received 405,000 911 calls. 62, 047 of those calls were accidental or incomplete that required a dispatcher to call the caller back to verify there was not an emergency! 1,812 of those accidental calls ended in 911 dispatch sending law enforcement to check on the caller. Just think of the time involved in OVER 62,000 calls answered, and then having to be called back.
What Can You do to be Part of the Solution?
Are you interested in SCUBA but not ready to start a career as a public safety diver? Check out the Oregon Scuba Club. They have a pretty cool trip planned for October you should check out!
The Oregon Marine Board has published some interesting stuff here.
"The rivers are yours to discover places, waterways and islands you have not seen. This book will help you to seek out those places, to see what lies down the wandering backwater slough, to know what lies on the other side of the island and around the point. In doing so, you must occasionally leave the safety and security of the main channel. Unexpected encounters with snags, mudbanks and sandbanks might occur, but with caution, such hazards can be avoided.
My disclaimer is this: the charts and your own judgement must be your final authority. You follow the author at your own risk."
Every region has its specific hazards. You can inform yourself about our region in a variety of ways. The United State Coast Guard is here to help you.
The Coast Guard maintains a recorded bar and weather forecast report at each station. The recording is updated every 3 hours during daylight or when weather conditions change. In addition Coast Guard Station Cape Disappointment can be contacted via VHF-FM Channel 16 for conditions of the bar. New "Restricted Bar" warning signs and lights have been installed at Ilwaco, Chinook, Hammond, and Skipanon boat ramps. If these lights are on... there is some type of safety restriction for the Columbia River bar.
The Washington SAR CON in Cowlitz County last weekend is not your last chance to join your peers for training and trading experiences.
Northwest SARCON in Clackamas County Oregon is coming up in September.
You may not know that Washington ranks 11th in volunteer rates in the nation!
In the Washington State Service Plan for 2016-18, our three primary goals are to:
And don't forget; we're recruiting volunteers as well!
Washington State Search and Rescue Volunteer Advisory Council (WA SARVAC) exists to provide a forum for search and rescue volunteers in our state to work together to develop best practices, develop curriculum, and discuss and resolve issues. We serve as a liaison between the search and rescue units and the volunteers that comprise them, and the WA Emergency Management Division, the agency that oversees search and rescue activities at the state level. We work with the Washington State Search and Rescue Coordinators' Association (WSSARCA) to address the needs of law enforcement agencies in our state when it comes to SAR volunteer responders.
In a typical year, search and rescue responders answer the call to assist law enforcement agencies search for missing persons and those in distress around 900 times each year. This volunteer service is invaluable in the communities in which we serve.
Washington State SARCON is going on this weekend, May 20-22 in Cowlitz County
Certain scuba tanks are no longer certified, Particularly Luxfer aluminum tanks from a certain time period (1971-1988) and of a certain alloy (6351) . It's important to note that scuba shops will NOT work on or even fill these for you if you bring them in: it's simply not safe.
If you have any questions about this or other equipment safety/recall notices, stop in and chat with our friends at Seven Seas Scuba for clarification.
Do you know the "Rules Of The Road" for inland waterways? Have you taken a Boater Safety course yet? It is mandatory for most people:
ALL Oregon residents must now carry the Oregon boater education card when operating powerboats (including personal watercraft or any motorized watercraft) greater than 10 hp.
-Children under 12 years old may not operate any power boat.
-Children 12 to 15 years old are required to carry their Oregon Boater Education Card on-board AND have a Card-holding adult (16 years of age or older, 18 years of age for personal watercraft) on-board in direct supervision in order to operate a powered watercraft GREATER than 10 hp.
-Children 12 to 15 years of age can operate a motorboat of 10 hp or less alone if holding a boater education card.
-Children must be 12 years old to take their Oregon Boater Safety Course & Exam and receive their Boater Education Card.
You must have a Washington State Boater Education Card to operate a motorized watercraft of 15 HP or more if you were born on or after January 1st, 1955.
-When the final phase of the law comes into effect in 2016, all boaters over the age of 12 will be required to have a Boater Education Card
-Children under the age of 12 may not operate a watercraft with a motor larger than 15 horsepower.
-Children aged 12 and over may operate a watercraft with a motor larger than 15 horsepower if they have their Washington Boater Education Card.
-All watercraft which have a motor larger than 15 horsepower require the operator to carry a valid Boater Education Card, including personal watercraft such as jet skis.