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Dive Rescue
Program Manager - Joel Verbrick

The Waukegan Fire Department Dive Rescue Team will provide emergency response of trained personnel and equipment to persons in water related life-threatening situations, and the recovery of drowning victims within the jurisdictional waters of the City of Waukegan.

The Dive Rescue Team will provide assistance to the Lake County Fire Chief's Dive Rescue Team according to the MABAS Division IV Mutual Aid Agreement.

The Dive Rescue Team will provide assistance to the Waukegan Police Department, Lake County Sheriff's, or the U.S. Coast Guard with the Battalion Chief's or Shift Commander's approval, search and recovery of crime evidence from any water area(s) within the jurisdiction of the Waukegan Fire Department.

New Member Qualifications

  • Firefighter II
  • EMT-Paramedic
  • Member in good standing and written approval from their Battalion Chief
  • Complete a medical history questionnaire
  • Complete a watermanship evaluation. Candidate must swim 300-yards and a 15- minute survival float

Team Member Qualifications
  • All divers must be members in good standing
  • All divers must possess a Public Safety Diver certification
  • "Probationary Diver" status will be for a period of one(1) year
  • All divers must complete the Dive Rescue Specialist-1 class
  • All divers must become Ice Dive Certified
  • Divers are required to complete 8 open water dives per year
  • All divers will attend a Waukegan Dive Team annual pool session
  • Divers that are to dive greater than 60 feet during Rescue Operation must complete a Deep Dive Certification Class.
  • Divers are required to complete an annual watermanship evaluation. This is a timed procedure and divers must accumulate a certain number of points in order to pass. This test is in 4 phases. The first is a 500 yard swim using  a forward stroke, stopping is not permitted. The second is a 15 minute survival float. The third phase is an 800 yard swim; mask, fins and snorkel will be used in this evaluation. The diver is to complete the swim by keeping his/her face in the water and not using their arms. The last test is a 200 yard diver tow in full SCUBA gear.

  • 17 foot Zodiac inflatable dive boat
  • Underwater video camera
  • Underwater communications with surface personnel
  • All divers are equipped with a Department issued vulcanized rubber dry suit
    • This protects the divers from the cold environments and polluted waters
  • All divers are equipped with a Department issued own full-face mask (AGA's)
    • Protects the divers face from coming in contact with the water
    • Keeps out pollutants
    • Protection from the cold
  • All divers have their own set of Department issued SCUBA gear
  • We have 4 - 19 cubic inch pony bottles

The Waukegan Fire Department Dive Rescue Team currently has 12 divers on the team.

All divers have completed the Dive Rescue Specialist Class, 11 divers have completed their Ice Dive Certification, five divers have completed Deep Dive Certification.