Responders acquire new underwater rescue and recovery tool

Published: Oct. 15, 2021 at 5:27 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - The Township Fire Department only has a few emergency responders who are qualified to dive into emergency recues and recoveries.

It’s a dangerous mission for anyone involved. Now, the first responders have a new tool on hand that will make it much safer and easier.

The underwater ROV is essentially an underwater drone that can go several hundred feet deep.

On Friday, the unit learned how to operate the new tool that will be used for all townships and surrounding Eau Claire County area.

$10,000 was funded through three of five stations and the Special Rescue Division.

Captain of Special Rescue, Chris Turner, says this is something they have been wanting for a long time.

“One of the things about our water around here, as most people know, is that it’s very stained and even if we’re not in an area where the water is real turbid or cloudy, it still is very dark water. So for us when we are scuba diving its exceptionally hard to see maybe three, four, feet at the most sometimes, so this unit has a high definition camera on the front and powerful lights so we are hopeful we will be able to see a few feet underwater,” Turner said.

In the coming years, they hope to acquire an underwater sonar unit that would expand the capabilities of the ROV and increase visibility significantly. That cost would be around $26,000.

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