FCTRT Introduces New Technology to Assist in Water Search and Recovery Operations

The Fayette County Technical Rescue Team recently introduced and began operations with their newly purchased full color high definition side scan sonar for use in water search and recovery operations.  Prior to placing the side scan sonar in full operation, the Team completed extensive training from TeamWatters, Inc. that was founded by Dennis and Tammy Watters.  TeamWatters, located in Illinois, is a not-for-profit volunteer organization that specializes in training law enforcement and rescue teams all over the United States in the recovery of remains, vehicles, and other items.  In addition, TeamWatters is one of the premiere training authorities in the United States for the proper and most effective use of side image sonar and has worked with numerous agencies in our region including the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Mississippi Wildlife Department.


As part of the Team’s sonar training, its members were provided extensive classroom instruction and also provided practical application of the proper and most effective use of the side scan sonar.  In addition, while completing the practical application portion of the training at a local lake in Rossville, Tennessee, the Team saw firsthand the substantial added benefits of the sonar use versus more traditional methods of searching, such as dragging methods and grid search patterns by the Team’s dive unit.


“Our Team believes in not only utilizing the latest in technological advances in purchasing equipment for our operations but also believes in making sure that our Team’s members are properly trained in the use of that equipment,” said Commander Kevin Snider.  “This type of specialized and extensive training not only ensures that the equipment is being properly used by our Team to receive the maximum benefit of this highly sophisticated equipment but also ensures the safety of our Team members in our water operations.  Our Team has made a tremendous amount of progress in both equipment and training in our water search and recovery operations over the past two and one-half years – in that we now have multiple boats for varying conditions, a large and highly trained dive unit with underwater voice communication capabilities, and now we are blessed with full color high definition side scan sonar,” remarked Snider.


The Fayette County Technical Rescue Team is a private, non-profit and sanctioned rescue squad comprised of 46 volunteers from various emergency response agencies and the private sector that is solely funded through sponsors, donations, and private grants.  The Team does not accept or receive any federal, state, county, or municipal government funding so that there is no cost for the all volunteer Team.  The FCTRT is an Active Unit Member of the Tennessee Association of Rescue Squads and has formed alliances with the Rossville Fire Department, Search Dogs South, and the Kelsey Canine Medical Center and holds active Team memberships with the National Association for Search and Rescue (NASAR), the International Association for Dive Rescue Specialists (IADRS), the International Rescue and Emergency Care Association (IRECA), the National Association of Volunteer Search and Rescue Teams (NAVSAR), and the Mid-South Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (Mid-South VOAD).  The Team is fully insured; available to respond in most of Tennessee, Mississippi, and Arkansas; and provides specialized emergency response to fire departments, police departments, and agencies requesting additional assistance or personnel without charge.  If you are interested in joining, assisting, donating, or just looking for more information about the Team – please visit their website at www.technicalrescueteam.com, visit them on Facebook, or call them anytime at (901) 496-6800.