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The Waterford Emergency Team, Inc. (d.b.a. Tri-State Emergency Team, “TSET”) has been in existence since 1958. The Team has a membership of approximately 30 volunteers and is a member of the New York State Federation of Search and Rescue Teams. The TSET is a comprehensively insured organization providing both wilderness search operations and a fully equipped dive team.
Eleven of TSET’s members are certified divers. Among our ranks are both active and retired Firefighters, Police Officers, Medical Doctors, a Respiratory Therapist and several Emergency Medical Technicians. Combined, these individuals have thousands of total dives in a variety of conditions including night dives, cold water, ice dives, depths in excess of 100 feet, current and the poor visibility often found in the waters within the Team’s operational area. Most of Tri-State’s divers prefer to maintain and use their own personal SCUBA gear. However, TSET also
has a full supplement of diving equipment including tanks, weights, BCD’s, regulators, masks, fins, wetsuits and dry suits.
The organization also provides the tools necessary for completing the mission. Tri-State has two boat platforms for delivering divers to the scene. These include a 16-foot Boston Whaler with a 90hp Evinrude motor capable of 30 mph speeds. TSET’s second boat is an 11-foot Quicksilver Zodiac with both a 25hp Mercury motor and a Minn Kota 12V/32lbs thrust electric trolling motor. These team boats each have their unique, different qualities which allow operation and launching over a wide range of water and shoreline conditions. Each TSET boat is outfitted with a Garmin Echomap 73SV navigation and underwater sonar imaging system. The Tri-State team uses a 2007 Dodge Ram1500 pickup truck and a 2015 Ford F450 Super Duty Type 1 ambulance truck to trailer its boats and support equipment. The Tri-State divers also have ropes, lift bags, body bags, underwater lighting, cameras, metal detectors, a two-diver audio communication system and numerous accessories to integrate the divers with a surface support team to coordinate an underwater search and recovery.
The Tri-State dive team trains several times per year and many of the members also dive socially with one another throughout the season. Those with dry suits dive as much as nine months out of the year in the northeast and several members are ice dive certified. TSET has also conducted joint training multiple times with the Hudson Mohawk Search and Rescue Canine handlers and cadaver dogs combining our divers and sonar technology with the acute olfactory talents of the canines. TSET’s surface members are also active during dive training. All team members have the opportunity to train to haul, launch and pilot the boats. The team is privileged to have a US Coast Guard licensed Captain to pass on his years of expertise to others and take the helm during difficult water conditions. TSET’s surface members also assist the divers with gear assembly and ingress and egress from the water. They can also manage rope lines from shore to coordinate divers on grid searches and ensure efficient and complete coverage.
The Tri-State divers and surface members are ready to provide their underwater skills and equipment to serve other authorities. The team can search for and recover discarded evidence, small boats, ATVs, motorcycles, snowmobiles and virtually anything else lost to the depths. TSET divers can attach tow truck cables to larger vehicles to allow their winched recovery.
Aided by sonar and its affiliation with the canine search team, Tri-State can also help locate and recover drowning victims to return them to their family. The team has the means necessary to first survey and photograph any underwater scene as we are directed before any disturbance and recovery.
Interested in how TSET can help your organization at no cost?
Contact us to discuss and schedule a specific training mission designed to fit your need.
The Tri-State Emergency Team is now a certifying organization for the President's Volunteer Service Awards Program. If you’re interested in earning a PVSA and looking to serve your community in a fun and unique way, TSET may be for you!
In 2003, the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation founded the President’s Volunteer Service Award to recognize the important role of volunteers in America’s strength and national identity. This award honors individuals whose service positively impacts communities in every corner of the nation and inspires those around them to take action, too.
The PVSA has continued under each administration, honoring the volunteers who are using their time and talents to solve some of the toughest challenges facing our nation.