The Somervell County Volunteer Fire Department took a dive last weekend, literally.

Fourteen volunteer firefighters were certified in basic open water diving at Wheeler Branch Reservoir in Glen Rose.

“We are trying to prepare and be proactive for water rescue,” Steve Willis of SCVFD said.

The department currently has eight basic certified divers, Willis said. The fire department also has several individuals who are certified in swift water rescue, which would be used in the event of a flood.

Dive training and certifications are one component to a water rescue team the SCVFD plans to establish in the future.

According to the Center for Disease Control, there were 3,582 fatal unintentional drownings in 2005. Another 710 individuals died from drowning and boating-related incidents.

With large bodies of water in and around Somervell County, like the Paluxy and Brazos rivers, a water rescue team is a growing need.

“Lake and water rescue will compliment what we have and the services we provide,” Willis said.

The dive training was taught by Burleson Scuba, which Willis said the department will continue to work with until it has its own certified instructor.

Rather than traveling to Burleson for the training, the department chose to hold it at Wheeler Branch Reservoir because it will aid in real-life situations.

“If you practice where you do your rescues at, (you) will become very efficient in those areas,” said Willis.