ALERT academy hosts firefighter-trooper dive training -, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

ALERT academy hosts firefighter-trooper dive training

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A little-known special group of firefighters and state troopers are cross-training for rescue and recovery, underwater. Every so often, Longview firefighters and state troopers get together for this kind of specialized training.

"We have to periodically get together to train for these special operations-type of events. They are a high risk and low frequency and so the training is very important," says Longview fire fighter and diver Steve Dankers.

At the Big Sandy ALERT academy, members of Longview fire and DPS dive teams are training in an underwater recovery scenario, where they must search and identify everything from submerged cars to planes.

"In this day and age we live today there's a lot of cross training that occurring and we want everybody to be on the same page , and what's happened here is the Longview Fire Department is training for underwater search and recovery," says Michael Gast , the National Academy of police diving president.

The drill is critical in sharpening their skills as divers.

"Its very important to come out and train with other agencies just the inter-agency cooperation and learning their techniques and the way they do things. Keeping our skills up is very important because these are some of our most difficult procedures," says state trooper Trent Price.

"Since 9-11 now there having to search underneath boats for explosives having to search seaport walls," Gast says. 

All of the divers are certified and the specialized training is held periodically to help them learn how to investigate crash scenes and even crime scenes under water.

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