New York State Police use to keep a helicopter on standby to evacuate diving officers to the nearest chamber-equipped hospital in case of a decompression emergency. Now, through an arrangement with a local dive shop and Jefferson County, the Special Tactics and Rescue (STAR) team operates its own hyperbaric chamber at the Brownville Fire Department. The 6.0-atmosphere multiplace chamber is the only one accessible to New York's 50 state and county divers, from New York City to Buffalo, for practice and emergency use. For these rescuers deep dives usually involve retrieving drowning or murder victims. Thankfully the chamber has been used exclusively for training drills since it was installed two years ago. But what a good idea to keep dedicated equipment at the ready to keep these dedicated professionals safe.
(Photo: Norm Johnston/Watertown Daily Times. State troopers on a chamber training run.)