Whenever disaster strikes on the water, the Effingham County Dive Rescue Team is on call. They’re an all volunteer group funded by the county whose job could include anything from boating accidents to underwater crime-scene investigation. Terry Trueblood, the Commander of Effingham County Dive Rescue, is a retired state investigator who volunteers his time as head of the team.
The number team members fluctuates between 10-20 and the group is always seeking willing volunteers. The team consists of both dive personnel and shore responders and many members of the team have backgrounds in law enforcement or fire control.
“It’s very much like a volunteer fire department in the sense that you know, community members want to do this very elite, specific job,” Trueblood said. “It takes a lot of effort on their part if they want if they want to become a volunteer. And just because the name ‘volunteer’ is there, doesn’t mean they don’t have extremely rigorous training and also the in-service training that continue on throughout the course of the year.”
According to Trueblood, volunteers must be in good health, have sufficient time for training, and be in the “right mindset.” Anyone age 18-55 is eligible to volunteer, but Trueblood says that the ages of 27-32, when folks are beginning to settle, is a sweet-spot. Because the team is all volunteer, people tend to move on to new jobs or opportunities outside the area.
“To be able to wear the shirt and wear the cap, it’s a real thing to have a dive rescue logo on. It is a very specific thing” Trueblood said about his duties.
If you are interested in volunteering, or know someone who is, with the Effingham County Dive Rescue Team, find them on Facebook for more information and how to get into contact with them.
You can hear a full interview with Terry Trueblood of Effingham County Dive Rescue here!