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PTC to donate dive team equipment

Last week the Peachtree City Council voted to dispose of the fire department’s dive team equipment by donating it to the Henry County Fire Department.
It was the final act in a process beginning in March during which council decided not to fund the dive team operations any longer.

A major factor in the decision was the budget, as the dive team needed a projected $59,000 in funding over the next two years. Among those costs was an estimated $41,000 for communications equipment used for underwater and land-based personnel.

The department will still have the capability to provide safety for events such as the Peachtree City Triathlon and the annual dragon boat races, but they will not be able to recover anyone who goes below the surface of the water, officials said.

The city also will lose the capability of searching underwater for evidence and other items. In such situations the city will have to summon a dive team from a neighboring jurisdiction, which will cost time but most likely not money.

Although the team does not conduct rescue operations, it was difficult to recommend the service cut, Eiswerth said.

The dive team has participated in 31 incidents in the past 10 years, including 23 drowning reports (eight of which were outside the county), and four “evidence recovery” operations, three of which were in the city and the fourth was in Fayette County.

The dive team also stands by to assist if needed during the city’s Fourth of July festivities and the annual Triathlon on Lake Peachtree.

The delay in letting go of the dive team equipment was due to a request from Councilman Doug Sturbaum, who wanted to postpone the matter until it could be determined whether funding existed in the 2011-2012 budget. No such funding was identified in the city’s budget talks.


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