January 2021: FBI Diver Helmet
What happens when evidence lands at the bottom of a lake? The FBI calls one of our Underwater Search and Evidence Response Teams (USERT). The team comprises trained divers who locate and recover evidence underwater.
The FBI established its first USERT in the 1980s in the New York Division. There are now teams in the FBI field offices in Los Angeles, Miami, and Washington, too.
FBI divers have not only specialized skills but also specialized suits. Made of chemically resistant polyurethane, the suits keep the divers dry. Divers can wear up to three layers of clothing underneath their suits, depending on the water temperature and location.
The FBI’s January Artifact of the Month is a Kirby Morgan SuperLite 27—a diving helmet FBI divers used to wear.
The block on the right side lets divers switch from surface air to the emergency gas supply carried in tanks on their backs; the block switch on the front ventilates the helmet and prevents the buildup of carbon dioxide.
The helmets also have speakers that let divers talk to team members above and below the surface.
FBI divers now wear the Kirby Morgan 77.