TFD temporarily halts dive training in Maumee River

TFD temporarily halts dive training in Maumee River

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - The algae bloom is impacting everyone in and around the Toledo-area including firefighters at Toledo Fire and Rescue.

TFD's dive team is equipped and trained to get into the water and make a rescue. Since late last week, a new protocol was put in place limiting the teams exposure to this water even when calls for help come in.

The new protocol is a result of the thick green slime floating throughout the Maumee River caused by an algae bloom. The bloom is worrisome because of the high level of toxins.

"Our divers have been instructed that they will not enter the water unless there is an immediate life danger to somebody out there," explained Pvt. Sterling Rahe of TFD.

Crews will still respond and survey the scene, but if it's not confirmed someone is in or under the water, divers will not enter the water.

"We are accustomed to taking great risks at fires, at incidents, so we will operate in those situations," Pvt. Rahe said. "But this is more for personal safety."

Strict rules are also in place for decontaminating the dive team and their gear if they have to get in the water. As of now, training for the team does not include the Maumee River. Instead, they are using other waterways and local pools.

TFD is monitoring the conditions daily with Lucas County and the city.

As soon as toxin levels decrease to a safer level, the dive team will go back to regular training and protocol when it comes to water rescues.

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