Rope Access

We offer classes through the National Ranger Training Institute (NRTI) at Hocking College. The classes that are offered are some of the most advanced and thorough available in the country.

The philosophy of our classes is to build upon what you have learned. So you need to take our classes in order. That specific order is:

  1. Rappelling and Vertical Rope Rescue. (RVRR)
  2. Sport Rock Climbing Class
  3. Intermediate Rope Rescue. (IRR)
  4. Advanced Rescue Rigging. (AVR)

The Rock Climbing class is not a prerequisite for any of the classes, but you do need to have had Rappelling and Rope Technique to take the Rock Climbing Class.

Rome Township Special Operations Unit

How the Rome Township Special Operations Unit can augment your department:

  • Provide highly trained divers and shore support for your water related incidents. (ie. Drownings, water rescue, ice rescue, vehicle recovery, evidence recovery, etc.).
  • Provide highly trained personnel for your ground search (urban and wilderness) needs.
  • High angle rescue and extraction technicians for rescue/recovery of persons trapped or stranded in isolated places.
  • Personnel to assist in confined space operations.
  • Personnel to aid your department in mass casualty/natural disasters.
  • Other realms are also handed by the members of the team.

While the team is made up of individuals from agencies all around the area, we respond and react as a whole.

FAQs about the team

Q. Do I have to be a diver?

A. No, while the team needs additional divers, there are plenty of other tasks that need to be done to support the dive operation.

Q. Do I have to join The Rome Township Volunteer Fire Department to be on the team?

A. No, although the Rome Township Volunteer Fire Department would not mind the help and your assistance if you are in their area.  Membership with a public safety agency IS required though, for workers compensation coverage.

Q. If I am already a diver and a firefighter, does that make me a rescue diver?

A. NO! Being a rescue diver takes a lot of additional training over and above that of firefighter and an open water certificate.

Q. What all do I have to buy or supply myself to be a part of the team?

A. While the team operates purely on the donations of others, we do not actually require anything. We would like for you to buy a pager ($45.00) and a team personal flotation device ($80-90). Additional gear might be required as you can afford it, if you want to be a diver.

Q. How often does the team meet?

A. Every 2nd Monday of the month, usually at Rome Township VFD.

If you would like to talk to someone directly about the team, feel free to call 592-4630 and ask for Jon or Chuck.

Water Safety

Welcome to the water safety page hosted by the Rome Township Special Operations Unit. On this page you will find helpful hints and guidelines to go by when dealing with water, whether you are swimming, boating, or see someone in trouble, we hope this page will help. As always, reading this does take the place of competent instruction, these are for reference only.


The single most important water safety tip is LEARN HOW TO SWIM! Knowing how to swim can save your life as well as others.  Several local agencies have classes, so sign up now if you don’t know how.

After you learn to swim, don’t forget these safety tips.

  • Always swim with a buddy.
  • Swim only in a designated areas and make sure an adult is watching.
  • Wear a life jacket if you don't know how to swim or are just learning... (I know it won’t look cool, but it will keep you alive).
  • An inflatable mattress or a swim ring does not take the place of a life jacket.
  • Don’t swim in cold waters; swimmers can get hypothermia (dangerously low body temperature) in cold water.
  • Never dive or jump in unknown areas.
  • Never swim under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Obey all "NO SWIMMING" and all other warning signs.


Boating safety cannot be overstated, too many avoidable accidents happen in and around boats.  Remember that the United States Coast Guard have very strict rules governing boats and boat operators, follow those rules and regulations as well as those of the local authority for a very sage and enjoyable time. Here are some helpful reminders:

  • Know your boat, each boat has its own purpose.
  • Make sure you use your boat correctly.
  • Always wear a life jacket when on a boat.
  • Make sure an adult is operating the boat.
  • Don't go on the boat if the operator has been drinking alcohol.
  • Ride a Personal Watercraft only with an experienced adult driver.
  • Don't stand while a small boat is moving.
  • Don't sit on the gunwale or bow of a moving boat.
  • Never boat just above or just below a dam.
  • Don't go past buoys, signs, ropes, or lights that warn of a dam.
  • Don't boat or paddle near a low-head dam.
  • Stay away from canals-currents and undertows hide beneath the surface.
  • Some rivers have waterfalls, some big, some small, don’t find out the hard way-get out and look.
  • Watch out for rapids and whitewater.
  • Watch out for broken limbs and logs in rivers and all waterways.
  • Remember that cold water can cause hypothermia.
  • Know your state’s laws governing boating and fishing.

Water Rescue

Seeing someone in distress when they are in the water can be a very scary experience. Staying calm and remembering what to do can mean the difference between life and death. These tips will help you help someone and stop you from becoming a second victim.

  • Remember the four steps to civilian water rescue. Reach, Throw, Row, DON'T GO!
    • REACH: Hold on to the dock or your boat and reach your hand, a boat oar, a fishing pole, or whatever you have nearby to person in the water.
    • THROW: If you can't reach far enough, toss things that will float for the person to grab.
    • ROW: If you're in a boat, use the oars to move the boat closer to the person in the water or call out to nearby boat for help. Don't use the boat's motor close to a person in the water, they could be injured by the propeller.
    • DON'T GO: Don't go into the water unless you are trained the way life guards are trained to rescue frightened or injured people.
  • Yell for help
  • If you can, call or have someone call 911, stay calm and give your exact location, your name, and the name of the people involved, they will get emergency personnel on their way to your location.
  • Learn CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) and first aid.
  • Take a class on how to deal with a hypothermic person. This will show you how to care for someone that has fallen in cold water or through ice.

Using these tips can help you and your loved ones enjoy being on and around the water.

Athens County Specialized Response & Recovery (Dive Team)

The Rome Township Special Operations Unit capacity is one of rescue and recovery. The Unit has the ability to put divers in the water for a multitude of operations. Whether it be a rescue or recovery, we have the expertise to conduct an efficient and speedy operation. The Unit also has the resources for recovery including items used in crimes, vehicles, small boats, etc, with lifting operations up to 4000 pounds non buoyant weight. The Unit also has divers trained in Underwater Crime Scene Operations. This includes proper technique for evidence recovery, body recovery, vehicle, etc.

The Rome Township Special Operations Unit is comprised of dedicated  individuals from area Fire, EMS, and Law Enforcement agencies. The training requirements that the team asks from its members is rather demanding and extensive; this further shows the professionalism, pride, and dedication that each and every member of the team exhibits. The team also relies upon itself to provide the equipment needed to do this job, at this time. If you are interested in becoming  part of the team, contact any team member or Jon or Chuck at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Athens County Specialized Response & Recovery (Dive Team) meets every fourth Monday of each month with further field training requirements scheduled then. For membership information, contact any team member for details or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. at the shop.

As the team relies on its members to supply the associated equipment, any and all contributions would be gladly accepted.

If you are in need of divers, contact us...

  • If you are a local emergency organization, contact Athens County Central Communications (911) and ask for the Rome Township Special Operations Unit, and they will page us.


The Pedaler & The Packer has some of the most complete rope rescue courses and SCUBA training offered anywhere by anybody. We can train you, or your department, to all levels of rope rescue. From water rescue to the high angle world, we have a complete and competent training program.

Our SCUBA program can take you from open water certified all the way through Instructor through PDIC. This agency takes an academic approach to diving as opposed to a recreational standpoint. We like to have our students very aware of the inherent dangers to diving and how to cope with emergencies should they come up.

The Rope Rescue courses that we offer are some of the best in the country. Through our testing of belay systems and the development of different techniques for lower/haul systems, we have revolutionized the high angle access world. The shop’s involvement with SPRAT gives us insight and input into regulations being developed for and adopted by such groups as OSHA and others.