05/19/04 — County departments cooperate to help sheriff's dive team go mobile

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County departments cooperate to help sheriff's dive team go mobile

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on May 19, 2004 2:05 PM

The Wayne County sheriff's dive team can now store its equipment and ride in style.

The dive team has been given a surplus ambulance by Wayne County Emergency Services.

"We donated the van to the Sheriff's Office with the intention that it be used for the dive team," said Blair Tyndall, the county emergency medical services director.

Emergency Services also stocked the van with some medical supplies that team members can use if rescue personnel cannot get to the scene.

The van became surplus when the county absorbed the rescue squads and bought new ambulances, Tyndall said. The van was "one of our better used ambulances," he said, with low miles and a sound body.

Detective Chris Bezio, a member of the dive team since it was formed in 1998, said the donation of the van and supplies was "an example of two county agencies working together." He said the van was a perfect place to change clothes and store diving gear.

"I was surprised how good it is and how well it runs," Bezio said. "We couldn't ask for anything better."

In the past, team members stored equipment in four vehicles. If all four members were not available, Bezio said, "we had to do without" some gear. "Now it's all in the truck."

Bezio said Tyndall obtained surplus backboards, collars and oxygen masks, set up the oxygen tanks and trained team members in administering oxygen.

The van will be stored at the Mar Mac Volunteer Fire Department on Old Grantham Road. Dive team members also will join with the Arr-Mac water response team from the Arrington and Mar Mac fire departments.

Other dive team members are Sgt. Ian Barratt, who also joined the team in 1998, Deputy Jayson Hill and two part-time deputies, Chris Peedin and Danny Edwards. Deputy Lee Davis is the tender on the boat.

The team's equipment is paid for with drug-seizure money and donations.

The team trains eight hours per month. This week the team was to train in a quarry near Rolesville. Members also will be trained on how to jump in full gear from a low-flying helicopter.

The dive team uses the van regularly. Since Jan. 1, Bezio said, the team has been called out 12 times. It has recovered a body and several vehicles.

"They went over backwards in assisting us," Bezio said of the county Emergency Services office.

Tyndall offered a simple explanation to the cooperation. "We're willing to work with them as a public safety organization, because we're all in the same business together," he said. "They help us and we help them."