Public Safety Diving / Operations


In PTRD a PUBLIC SAFETY OPERATOR (PSO) is a non diver rescue operator.

A PUBLIC SAFETY DIVER  is a diver rescue operator.

PUBLIC SAFETY DIVING (PSD) differs from recreational, technical, scientific, and commercial diving because you can’t usually plan the date, time, and location of the dive, and you tend to dive in heavy environments and conditions. This underwater work is usually carried out by police, fire, and search and rescue/recovery teams that respond to emergencies 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and must be willing to dive in the middle of the night, during inclement weather, in “black water” with no visibility, or in water contaminated by chemicals and biological hazards.

In addition to basic diving training, public safety divers require specialized training to recognize hazards, perform risk assessments, search procedures, dive with zero visibility, use masks with communication systems, and retrieve admissible evidence in court. Part of the water in which they must dive is contaminated, and they may be required to wear vulcanized dry suits, with diving helmets sealed to the suit, and use air supplied from the surface. Sometimes, the decontamination process that takes place outside the water can be longer than the immersion time.

Many public safety divers are volunteers, but career law enforcement or fire rescue personnel also often take on these additional responsibilities as part of their occupation. Firefighters will find the diving equipment has similarities to the full face masks and breathing apparatus worn in smoke filled environments.

Law enforcement personnel are also trained as public safety divers because of their training and experience in handling evidence and presenting evidence in court.




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