Prospect Heights Fire District SCUBA Divers Monthly Training
By Battalion Chief Mark Oeltgen
August 17, 2017

Members from the Underwater Rescue and Recovery Team worked with other fire departments on large scale searches in the waters of Lake Michigan. Members trained in using "The Bar", which is a piece of equipment that is towed behind a boat, allowing divers to cover large areas of water quickly using minimal effort by being pulled through the water. This equipment is best used in clear water where the divers can search with their eyes, not their hands. Most water that our dive team responded to is considered "Black Water". This term referrs that the water has so much mud (and other stuff--Yuck), that they can see maybe 6 inches in front of them. Searches in these waters take much longer, as the search is performed by sweeping the divers hands from side to side as they swim along.
Other pictures show divers searching along a pier/ breakwall for simulated victims. Currents in large lakes, like Lake Michigan, can move or push drowning victims into these rocky areas, requiring divers to carefully search near jagged rocks and pier supports.

Units: Divers from Prospect Heights, Des Plaines, Highland Park, Evanston, Park Ridge, Glenview