Dive Master (Team Coordinator): Lt. Chuck Zimmerman
Team Mission Statement
Our Team Mission is to provide the very best dive rescue and underwater recovery capabilities to all citizens within the Palatine and Palatine Rural jurisdictions. We will provide underwater evidence search and maintenance duties as assigned. We support, attend, and respond to MABAS requests for the same. We provide outstanding service through proficient and safe underwater techniques developed by a first rate team training program.
Started in 1977, members of the Palatine Dive Rescue Team provide underwater rescue and recovery services in all areas protected by the Palatine Fire Department and the Palatine Rural Fire Protection District. Under an automatic aid agreement, we also respond as the first-due water rescue unit to the City of Rolling Meadows. Palatine has over 70 bodies of water within the village limits and the Palatine Rural District. The Dive Rescue Team currently has 18 members. Interested firefighters who are off probation and in good standing may apply for team membership. As openings on the team come up, new team members are selected from a list of interested personnel. Each member of the team must pass an annual swim test and obtain the following certifications:
- Open Water Diver
- Advanced Open Water Diver
- Water Rescue Operations
- Dive Rescue I / Public Safety Diver
- Ice Rescue Diver
- Swift Water / Flood Rescue
Many of our members go on obtain advanced training and certifications as well. In addition, our members are trained to be boat operators, certified to the Watercraft Technician level.
All members are required to maintain their dive status by obtaining monthly dive training, performing a minimum of 5 open water dives per year, 1 ice dive, an annual skills review, and an annual swim test. The annual swim test consists completing the following tasks:
- 500 m free swim
- 800 m snorkel and mask swim
- 100 m inert diver tow
- Treading Water for 15 minutes with the last 2 minutes with hands out of the water
The Palatine Dive Team not only responds to incidents within Palatine, but also responds to other towns throughout the Chicagoland area through MABAS (Mutual Aid Box Alarm System). Palatine Divers participate in rescue, recovery and evidence recovery dives every year. Additionally, we train monthly, not only in-house, but also with our mutual aid partners.
Several of our members also serve on local, regional, and state committees and response teams. This involvement better prepares our team and gives us even greater capabilities throughout a broader area.
In addition to emergency responses, the Palatine Dive Rescue Team also provides
water rescue standby for planned water events in the community. In a typical year, our team has surface rescuers and divers in place for the Special Olympics Polar Plunge and for the Twin Lakes Triathlon.