Physics in Rope Rescue? Absolutely!

When it comes to rigging, the laws of physics reign supreme. Small systems (e.g., a single knot) and large systems (e.g., a back-tied, elevated anchor supporting a horizontal line across a ravine) will only function effectively if they reflect an understanding of basic principles. Which physical principles are we talking about? Static and dynamic friction, mechanical advantage, vectors, fall forces, static loads, and many others determine … [Read more...]

Pat Rhodes April 12, 2017
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Training Rescue Teams: What Standards Apply?

If you are not a rescue expert, the process of moving an injured person from a hazardous location to a place of safety may seem hopelessly complex. And like any other complex process one would assume that various organizations who specialize in technical rescue would issue standards to guide us in training rescue teams. These are some of the issues we'll be covering in our upcoming Confined Space Rescue Team Leader classes to be held this fall in … [Read more...]

Jim Johnson September 27, 2016
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Rope Rescue: Mainline/Belay or Two Tension?

Traditional rope rescue techniques use two, separate rope systems: 1) A mainline (to raise or lower the patient/rescuer) and 2) A belay, or safety, line which will catch the load if the mainline fails. Given that each rope is attached to the load and an anchor, at some point someone wondered if you could swap them out and switch between using a belay as a mainline and a mainline as a belay. In other words, could you keep both lines … [Read more...]

Pat Rhodes November 6, 2015
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Confined Space Rescue: Justifying your Team.

When you are asked the question: Is it worth having a rescue team? Keep the following in mind. Incipient: adjective Definition: in an initial stage; beginning to happen or develop. Common sense dictates that most employees should be able to respond appropriately to an incipient fire. Alarms and extinguishers have saved countless billions in damages and few would argue against spending money to ensure a safe and effective response in the … [Read more...]

Jim Johnson November 6, 2015
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Questions to Answer When Developing a Rescue Team

Developing a rescue team is simple: recruit team members, purchase equipment, and hire someone to provide training. Easy enough. The real challenge is maintaining that capability over time. People leave the team, equipment ‘disappears’ and skills degrade. Having been involved in the development and maintenance of hundreds of rescue teams, we have learned that successful, long-lasting teams are built on a firm foundation. And firm foundations … [Read more...]

Pat Rhodes October 7, 2014
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What’s the “Footprint” of a Rescue Tripod?

Rescue Tripod "Footprint" Defined. This may seem simple, but can you define it if a student or fellow team member asked you? The footprint of a rescue tripod is exactly what it implies. Begin with something familiar: your footprint. The footprints you make in the sand are created by the compression of the sand by your body weight which is being transferred through your legs and down to your feet. Therefore the footprint represents an … [Read more...]

Pat Rhodes July 9, 2014
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What is Technical Rescue?

Defining "Technical Rescue". The answer is simple: Technical rescue is a transportation problem that needs to be solved quickly.  The team needs to move someone (who is injured or otherwise incapacitated) from a hazardous or inaccessible location to a place of safety. A few key facts compound the challenges: The team must access the hazardous or inaccessible location without placing members of the rescue team in harm's way. In an … [Read more...]

Pat Rhodes July 8, 2014
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Sign of a Competent Rescue Technician: Attention to Detail!

Dedicated Rescue Technician's Require Attention to Detail. Any profession that can impact life and safety and that requires interactions with other life safety professionals (i.e., nurses, paramedics, EMTs, and physicians) requires skills, knowledge, and a commitment to that trade. This is also true of rescue technicians. These abilities don’t accrue overnight; they require years of dedicated study and participation rescue drills and skills … [Read more...]

Pat Rhodes July 8, 2014
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Belay

When it comes to rope rescue, one issue that seems to arise frequently involves the use of conditional versus unconditional belays. Just to review, a belay is a safety line that will catch the rescuer or patient if the mainline fails. An unconditional belay will catch the load without any action being taken by the person operating the belay (the belayer). A conditional belay requires the belayer to take some action (e.g., pull, wrap, or … [Read more...]

Jim Johnson April 17, 2014
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