Black Laser Learning® conducted joint training with Dive Rescue International, providing Colorado Springs fire rescue as well as visiting underwater search and rescue teams, an extensive workout with the Humminbird MEGA side-imaging sonar system. The primary emphasis was on locating drowning victims, which is an ongoing challenge for first responders.
During the June 14 and 15 training sessions, hosted by Colorado Springs Fire Department, participants learned how to analyze imagery, adjust sensitivity and contrast to produce the best imagery, adjust range for water depth and target type, and how and when to use the different frequencies available.
Training activities included:
- Day One Classroom Session: Teams discussed the principles of sonar image formation and analysis, reviewed search patterns, as well as how to adjust search patterns for differing depths.
- Day Two in the Field: Participants learned how to operate three types of Humminbird sonars on a series of submerged targets, which included a rescue mannequin, drowning victim target marker, wheel barrow, and bicycle.
- Day Three in the Field: Personnel worked aboard three different vessels, each one equipped with a different version of the Humminbird sonar. Versions included the older 1199 model, the more recent Helix system, and the newest, most recently released Helix MEGA, which features the new 1200 kHz CHIRP sonar.
The trainees included members of the Colorado Springs Fire Department, West Metro Fire Rescue, Loveland Fire Rescue Authority, Williams County Underwater Search & Rescue, as well as two rangers from Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
Commenting on the successful outcome, Vince Capone, BLL's lead sonar instructor, remarked: “Each of the Humminbird systems was effective in the mission, however each system, each frequency needed to be adjusted differently. Based on the techniques presented in the classroom, the participants learned how to adjust each system for the best results. Each team member also had the opportunity to work with the new Helix MEGA. All three Humminbird systems easily detected the targets, however images from the new Helix MEGA appeared in stunning detail.”