STRATFORD, Conn. -- Nearly a week before the East Coast was pounded with snow, members of the Stratford Public Safety Dive Team took advantage of the relative calm to practice cold water diving in Stratford's Beaver Lake Dam.
Because Stratford's coastline is one of the longest in the state, the newly formed combined police and fire dive team members want to be prepared for water emergencies, Stratford firefighters said in a recent Facebook post .
The 11 members practiced from Jan. 15 through Jan. 18 in the lake on the north end of town near Trumbull for a certification program in dry suit diving. The team runs through drills each month to prepare themselves for work in water rescue, evidence recovery, as well as working under cold and wet conditions.
The combined police and fire team was formed earlier this year thanks to a federal grant from the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security, officials said.
Stratford's new team reflects an emerging trend in Connecticut to train both police and fire to handle water emergencies. Similar programs operate successfully in Westport and Wilton, officials said.
The recent practice in Stratford gave police and fire a chance to work on 35-foot dives in 37-degree water with a certified instructor.