Team members from the Polk County Sheriff's Office Dive Team (USART: Underwater Search and Rescue Team) brought home two second place trophies from the 2002 Annual Public Safety Divers Championship and Forum held Oct. 7-11 in Orlando.
USART team members Detective Bobby Brigman and Deputy Dave Gensiejewski participated in the 16th annual event last week. Their participation marked the first time team members from the PCSO USART have competed in the championship. The team earned second place in the "novice" class, and second place in the overall competition. Due to the team's excellent ratings, they graduated to the "master" class for future competitive events. Approximately 24 dive teams from across the state competed in the event.
The annual event - sponsored by the Central Florida Fire Academy, Orange County Sheriff's Office and Dive Rescue International - features eight events, three scenarios and two blocks of instruction related to divers stress and rescue techniques. The Championship includes events such as underwater navigation, shore sweep, equipment don and rescue swim, grid search, underwater search, underwater obstacle course, personal water craft rescue and more. The scenarios include a rescue from a submerged bus, hull search for explosives on a 38-foot vessel, and rigging a submerged vehicle for lifting.
According to Brigman and Gensiejewski, the competition offered them a valuable opportunity to see and experience different competition techniques and real-world techniques used by other agencies to perform rescue and recovery operations.
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