FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, Feb. 8, 2019
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Stoneham Dive Team Completes Ice Training on Spot Pond
STONEHAM — Fire Chief Matthew Grafton and Police Chief James McIntyre are pleased to announce that the Stoneham Public Safety Dive Team completed ice training at Spot Pond this week.
Stoneham’s dive team has been in existence since the early 1980s and consists of 10 members from the fire and police departments — each bringing a unique set of skills and expertise to the group. The team provides mutual aid to surrounding communities for water related searches and rescues.
“The Stoneham Fire and Police Departments have a long history of working well together during fire investigations and it’s a great resource to have a member of the police department who can add another level of skills to the team,” Chief Grafton said. “This training was a great opportunity for veteran members to refine their skills and new members to learn a critical part of what the team is called to do.”
From Feb. 4-6, Firefighters Mike Labriola, Dave Eastman, Dan Kelleher, Mike Coughlin, Tom DeCroteau, Jack Sullivan and Rick Darragh and Stoneham Police Sgt. Dave Thistle participated in the training taught by Dive Rescue International. Firefighters from Beverly, Billerica, Lunenburg, Cambridge and the New York City Fire Department also joined in the training.
Participants first spent time in the classroom and pool at the YMCA in Reading, where they reviewed procedures before heading to Spot Pond. Stoneham Dive Team members cut a hole in the ice, which was between 8 to 10 inches thick, so divers could complete different real-life simulations where they practiced search patterns and looked for objects.
“The dive team adds to the services we are able to offer residents and it is a great resource for our neighboring communities,” Chief McIntyre said. “Together, police and fire are able to perform search and rescue operations and recover objects with a connection to criminal investigations that may have been discarded in the water.”
Prior to the training, the Stoneham Fire Department received a $75,000 earmark from state Sen. Jason Lewis and state Rep. Michael Day, which it used to purchase 10 full face masks and equipment that allows divers to communicate with each other both in and out of the water. The department was also able to purchase a John Deere Gator Utility Vehicle that helps dive team members more easily access the water and wooded terrain.
“We want to thank state Sen. Lewis and state Rep. Day for this generous earmark that has allowed us to increase safety for members of the dive team and improve services to the communities we serve,” Chief Gafton said.
Chief Grafton would also like to remind residents to not walk, skate or fish on the ice. Although recent measurements have indicated the ice is thick, warmer than normal temperatures this week mean the ice is thinning.