The Water Ops Team has been expanded to 34 personnel, mainly out of Stations 72, 74, and 75. The founding members were Lieutenant John Klingerman, Engineer Dave Howard, and a host of support personnel. The Water Ops Team has been expanded to 40 personnel, out of Stations 71,72, 74, and 75. The founding members were Lieutenant John Klingerman, Engineer Dave Howard, and a host of support personnel. Initially the team operated out of a flat bottom sand bar type of boat. Members began to expand their dive training and a new boat was purchased from Sanibel Fire Department for $1.00. It was rebuilt and put into renewed service. Iona water ops member currently operate out of 32 foot aluminum Metal Shark twin outboard vessel. All water rescues were primarily surface rescues. Diving takes place from the boat or land. Each first out fire engine is equip with a rapid dive scuba pack and the vessel and support truck are equip with 4 sets of full scuba gear. Divers certify and train at Scuba Quest located in the District on McGregor Blvd.
All current team members are open water, advanced diver, and NAUI Public Safety Diver. Iona McGregor is one of the only two fire departments in the County to have dive capability. All boat operators or pilots have U.S. Coast Guard Boater Safety certification and some have completed BOSAR (Boat Operator Search and Rescue) certification.
The Water Ops Team trains monthly, in diving and practicing boat operations. Annually, the IMFD Water Ops Team participates in Marine Emergency Response Team (MERT) training events. MERT training events are multi-jurisdictional events, involving search and rescue, diving, and firefighting skills. Participation in these events have given us extensive training along with the experience of working with many other agencies to accomplish one goal, water safety.
The Iona-McGregor Fire District was recognized by the Coast Guard at an award ceremony for their participation in MERT (Marine Emergency Response Team). They were presented the award by Commanding Officer Robert Gruschow and Coast Guard Station Fort Myers Beach crew members. The award, the Meritorious Public Service Award is the second highest public service award of its series awarded by the commandment of the Coast Guard. Criteria for the award include unusual courage in advancing a Coast Guard mission, substantial contribution that produced tangible results, and accomplishments that provide unique benefits to the public. Iona McGregor is very proud to receive this award and is proud to be part of the Marine Emergency Response Team.