MORRIS — Firefighter and Assistant Chief of Region 5 Dive Team Glenn LeFreniere came to Bantam Lake pulling a trailer belonging to the Region Five Dive Team, representing the towns of Bantam, Middlebury, Morris, Terryville, Thomaston and Watertown, for a multi-town rescue exercise. He brought the diving gear for the morning of diving exercises on June 23.
Two of the divers, Mark Abbenante and Peter Bergamo, required three assistants for the laborious task of suiting up, including strapping on an oxygen tank and a harness shackled to a long nautical rope allowing the diver to be quickly pulled to the surface.
The two helpers manned the ropes as the divers descended. Communication between shore and lake was through a coded series of yanks on the rope and linked through a “Buddy Phone” that is specially made for underwater communications.
Kevin Robinson, who was with the Thomaston Dive Team for 15 years, is now the Litchfield County coordinator for large-scale incidents such as Superstorm Sandy or the lightning strike at Bantam Lake that downed a tour boat and put 22 people in the water.
As part of the state of Connecticut Fire Rescue Disaster Plan, his goal is to efficiently manage resources throughout Litchfield County to mitigate emergency incidents. He came to the Morris town beach to share his expertise with rescue dive training.
First Selectman Tom Weik, also a Morris firefighter, is also a member of the dive team who was on the scene.
“I’m looking forward to getting certified as a diver. Today was a good drill to get newer members familiar with the procedures and gave the divers practice for their searching techniques,” he said.
For more information on volunteering, contact email@example.com (Michael R. Granoth, Chief). R5DT is dispatched by Northwest Connecticut Public Safety at 203-709-4400.