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Fire Departments at Lake of the Ozarks are often tasked with water rescue and recovery situations. In 1997, Mid-County sent its first team of personnel to basic dive training. The team worked toward acquiring equipment and advanced PSD training through Life-guard Systems of New York. The team receives funding from a local boat racing event that is known throughout the country as the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout. The team has been tasked with recovering many victims as the result of drowning accidents. This is a crucial component of the team as well as recovering weapons, vehicles and evidence for local law enforcement agencies. The team also has swift water technicians and the equipment to deal with flood and fast moving water conditions. Mid-County allows its members to work into a role with the team once the basic roles and responsibilities of the fire department are met. The team is made up of members from departments throughout the lake area. This allows the team to acquire personnel that desire to work in water rescue.
Who We Are
The Mid-County Water Rescue and Recovery Team formed in 1997, with several firefighters and little equipment. These firefighters realized the need to serve the community by protecting them not only on land, but water as well. As the population grows, the lake draws more residents and vacationers, who bring along their boats. While this stimulates the area’s economy, it also increases the number of water-related accidents and the need for trained water rescue personnel.
The team consists of firefighters who are certified divers and those who are trained in special operations. An 8x16 foot enclosed trailer houses 6 complete sets of diver gear, along with safety ropes and other equipment used in water rescue and recovery. The equipment has been acquired mostly from the generosity of private donations and fundraising efforts.
The team plays an active role in public education, taking water safety to the schools. However, assisting the fire department and water patrol in water-related accidents, injuries and drowning is the team’s main function.
The members of the dive team train monthly, along with many hours of external training through Lifeguard Systems Inc. from New York. They try to keep up-to-date on new safety techniques and certification programs.