Divers with the Oakland County Sheriff's Department gathered at Milford High School Pools and Fitness, Wednesday, to train on an obstacle course, practice with their sonar equipment and work on their fitness.
The group, which includes Highland Substation Sgt. Matt Snyder, meets once a month to train.
"We like to try and get in some training on the ice around this time of the year, but it's been so warm," Snyder said. "So, the guys here at Milford were nice enough to let us come in and use their facilities."
Snyder said their busiest season is in the summer, but they will get calls in the winter for animals, cars and snowmobiles that fall through the ice.
"You don't really now what the situation is going to be until you get on the scene, so we try to train for a little of everything," Snyder said.
During Wednesday's training, the divers put on their gear and blacked out their masks to simulate low visibility in a lake. They then had to complete an obstacle course set up in the pool with the blacked out masks on.
"It creates some anxiety, and trains you for those types of situations were there might be little to no visibility during a rescue or recovery," Snyder said.
There are 12 divers, according to Snyder, who carry their gear with them at all times, even when off duty, just in case they are needed.
"We live all over Oakland County so we can get to pretty much any lake where we're needed within 10 minutes," he said. "We train for all sorts of circumstances and any police or fire department in the county can give us a call."
Just recently, divers were called in by White Lake Police to help with a case where a man jumped into Cedar Island Lake while fleeing from police.
"It great to be able to provide the types of services and support that we have to the area," Snyder said. Oakland County has 450 named lakes, and several more ponds, rivers and small unnamed lakes.
On Wednesday, the divers worked with a special piece of equipment, the ROV. This ROV (remote operated vehicle) has a 500 ft. line, and it gets dropped into the water to help locate items using sonar. It also has a camera and a mechanical arm that allows it to pick up items. The ROV is controlled by a trained specialist and is used to help divers located items at the bottom of lakes.
"The divers only train and focus on diving, so it's pretty cool when we can bring in the high-tech equipment and see how it all works," Snyder said.