Task Force One (TF-1) is a Special Operations Team that provides regional responses for Underwater Search, Rescue, and Recovery and Tactical Emergency Medical Support in Southwestern Ohio. TF-1 is comprised of participating agencies that include the Loveland-Symmes Fire Department, Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office, Clermont County Sheriff’s Office, Butler County Sheriff’s Office, Union Township (Clermont County) Police & Fire Department, Central Joint Fire and EMS Department, Miami Township (Clermont County) Fire Department, and the Saint Bernard Fire Department.
37 devoted professionals maintain a high level of training to provide for the safe operation of TF-1 and to remain on the forefront of currently acceptable operational standards. These professionals contribute countless hours to enhancing public awareness and education, as well as maintain other full-time commitments. TF-1 remains committed to building it’s capabilities as defined by the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and will continue to broaden its scope of training and education to maintain a premier service delivery. TF-1 works along side local emergency management agencies in Hamilton, Clermont and Butler counties to bring the region a level of service and enhancements through funding made available through various grants. TF-1 continues to work with agencies within the Ohio Region 6 to develop a deployment model to present to the Ohio WTAC. State funding allocated since 2010 has brought equipment standards in alignment with NIMS Type I.
TF-1 Dive Division
The LSFD began providing dive rescue and underwater recovery services in 1981. In 1987, the Hamilton County Sheriff (Simon Leis Jr.) requested that the LSFD assist his office with dive team development. During this training opportunity, it was soon realized that combining services using these fire service and law enforcement professionals would prove valuable and more economical. As this regional opportunity began to grow, additional agencies including Clermont and Butler County Sheriff’s Offices soon joined and over the years, TF-1 has become what it is known for today. Each agency appoints a commanding officer who has years of experience in public safety diving and oversees the staff assigned by their agency. TF-1 has provides dive rescue and recovery services throughout southwestern Ohio and across state lines. While public safety diver equipment technologies continue to improve, TF-1 has remains on the forefront of providing the very best for its divers. Today, helmet diving using the Kirby Morgan KM77 stainless steel helmet is standard for operations. Air supply is provided from the surface using DSI Diver Control System. During diving operations, following a risk management safety plan, TF-1 uses a 2:1 safety rule. For each diver operating underwater, 2 safety divers remain in a ready state to deploy in the event a diver emergency. Divers are protected from cold contaminated waters using a dry suit with thermal wear. The diver’s helmet or AGA mask offers full face protection with a clear lens for visibility, which enables the diver to remain comfortable at cold temperatures. Divers communicate with surface personnel through a hard wired communications line configured as part of the air supply umbilical.
Enhancing Diver Safety
TF-1 currently operates a Marine Sonic Technology 900KHz Side Scanning Sonar to view underwater images. Eliminating a search of what’s unknown and keeping divers out of the water unless necessary contributes to improving safety and enhancing efficiency. The sonar fish pings a signal through the water from either side or both simultaneously as its travels through the water behind a boat approximately 12 inches above the bottom. Images are returned to a computer where the operator analysis them to determine if it is the target. The computer software is capable of measuring targets and plotting the coordinates of the images being viewed. These precise locating tools enable divers to decend and recover targets without countless hours of searching.