The Mastic Fire Department formed the Scuba Rescue Team in 1979. The equipment was limited and the vehicle used for responding to calls was a 1968 GMC Pick up with a utility body. The Fire District purchased a small flat bottom aluminum boat, which was propelled by oars. This boat was purchased in a local hardware store and served it’s purpose well, until its replacement in the 1992 with an inflatable 14-foot boat with a 30 hp outboard engine on it (this boat is still in service today).
In 1991, the Board of Fire Commissioners of the Mastic Fire District purchased a used 1985 Chevrolet 4 wheel drive ambulance from the Massapequa Fire District. This vehicle provided the ability to respond off road to the locations of the water rescue calls. It was set up with 4 Dive gear set-ups mounted in the seat positions in the rear of the truck and was instrumental in getting divers geared up while in route to calls. This vehicle also carried much of the water related equipment to the scene.
In 1997, the above vehicle was replaced when the Mastic Fire District Board of Fire Commissioners purchased a 1997 18-foot Grumman Olsen commercial step van on a GMC chassis (5-12-8). Once the Fire District had taken delivery of this truck the fire department members, working with the Fire District mechanic, designed out the interior of the vehicle, which was then fabricated by an outside vender and delivered to the firehouse as modular pieces and installed into the truck by the department members with the district mechanic. While the inside of the truck was being built the vehicle was equipped with radios, emergency lighting and lettered.
The above vehicle is the current response vehicle for water related emergencies. It carries 8 complete SCUBA gear set ups as well as 2 surface swimmer set ups mounted along benches in the rear of the vehicle. Divers are able to gear up while responding to calls and be ready to go into service upon arriving at the scene. Along with the gear set ups the vehicle carries numerous lines, buoy’s, grappling hooks, spare air tanks, and personal floatation devices which are used by the department members as they provide surface support and line tenders for the divers.
The Mastic Fire Department also responds to scenes, as needed using the Fire Department’s 1998 GMC pickup (5-12-11) and a 2002 Ford crew cab pickup (5-12-11), as well as the Rescue/Command Post truck (5-12-10) and the Ariel truck (5-12-14) as requested.
In 2001 the Mastic Fire District realized that there was a need for a larger boat in order to serve the growing use of the waterways in and around the Mastic Fire District. After much research, the Board of Commissioners ordered a 28-foot aluminum hull boat (5-12-26) that was built by Thomas Marine and delivered with Twin 150 hp outboard motors. This boat is also equipped with a 550gallon per minute Hale pump which has a mounted Deck gun towards the bow (front) of the boat and also has 2 outlets which can be used for inch and three quarter hand lines.
The Scuba team currently has 18 certified scuba divers, which are supported by Fire Department members who respond with the divers to calls. Fire department members that have successfully completed boat training operate the boats.
The Mastic Fire Department Scuba Rescue Team has grown within the Fire Department, and has only been able to do so by the continued support of the Mastic Fire District Board of Fire Commissioners, both past and present, who strive to train and equip the Mastic Fire Department members for any and all types of emergencies which may occur with in the area protected by the Mastic Fire Department. Currently the team is known as MIRT (Marine Incident Response Team) they continue to train and support the community by responding to any Marine incidents on our waterways.