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PVC Grid System

By Harold Ruslander
Forensic Supervisor
Palm Beach County Medical Examiners Office

PVC grid system consists of eight pieces of PVC pipe, each long piece is 5 feet long, four 90 degree elbows and four coupling sleeves. They all slip together to form a 10' square. The PVC used is 2" diameter plumbing grade pipe instead of lawn sprinkler pipe. Then, every two feet, an eye hook is screwed into the PVC. Once the grid frame is placed over the site, two different colors of masons string is used one across and the other vertically to make it easier to see. This results in two foot squares to make searching easier.
Numbered markers are placed along one side and lettered ones up other side. This allows each square within the grid to be uniquely numbered, ie. A-3 or D-7 without a chance of two squares having the same number.

You can glue the elbows and sleeves to ONE end of a piece of PVC. This way if there is an obstacle like a tree, you can build it around it. This all breaks down into a small enough bundle to place into a cloth sack similar to one a folding chair comes in for easy storage and transportation. You can even pre-cut the strings and keep them wound on a piece of wood or plastic. Just tie loops on each end so they fight tautly but not too taut to cause the frame to bow inwards. The whole thing sets up in less than ten minutes and makes building a "square" grid system very easy.

This grid system can also be used for underwater searches too. Just weight it down with weight belt weights at the four corners. As a dive team or surface search team completes each 10'x10' area, simply flip the grid over keeping one side anchored where it was and begin searching the second area.

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