Q: Can I use my fall arrest harness as a rescue harness?
A: Like many equipment questions, this is dependent on the rescue environment and the rescue task at hand. Given a scenario where the rescuer is not required to be suspended from a rope to perform in the rescue event, however, the rescuer is performing in a fall hazard area, then the rescue is good to work with an approved fall arrest harness. (Read More)
Rope and Webbing
Q: What is kernmantle rope?
A: Kernmantle rope that consist of an inner core (typically nylon) fibers. This inner core is contained by an outer braided sheath made out of nylon and/or polyester. Some rope that is designed for high heat or aggressive edge environments will have an outer sheath braided with combinations of aramid fibers such as Technora. (Read More)
Q: What is a rope grab and what types of rope grabs are available? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each?
A: To answer this question we must first define rope grabs. In rigging, a rope grab is a device that holds the rope in place or as a means of holding and pulling the rope. Not all rope grabs are rope stops. In other words rope grabs are not synonymous with belay or vertical fall arrest devices. Although, some devices might qualify for both functions under specific applications. (Read More)
Carabiners and Connectors
Using the strictest definition of OSHA fall arrest criteria and ANSI 359, carabiners are classified as connectors. Why is this important? Today, with the advancement of industrial rescue teams, we are seeing more of a trend of rope equipment compliance with these important fall arrest standards. Here are a few questions and answers that should be considered when choosing carabiners for your team. (Read More)
Q: What types of descenders are available and how do you know which one to choose?
A: Like rope grabs there are a zillion descender and friction control devices on the market. Friction control devices (descenders) are as old as mankind. They can be as simple as adding a bunch of wraps around a tree or as complex as the MPD. All of them accomplish their goal of applying friction at a slow and controlled speed. Friction control is a key physical component in rigging. We’re trying to overcome friction during the hauling process, and we’re trying to use it to our advantage during the lowering process. (Read More)
Q: What are the differences between ascenders and rope grabs?
A: Most products labeled and sold as ascenders, usually work well in other applications that require rope grabs. Conversely most rope grabs can be used for ascending a rope. The key factor and requirement is that ascenders and rope grabs are typically not designed to be shock loaded. Unless authorized by the manufacturer, ascenders and rope grabs should never be used in a shock load scenario. These valuable tools are solely for vertical work positioning jobs and/or pulling tensioned rope within the recommended safety margins of the manufacturer. (Read More)
Q: What makes a one pulley more efficient than another?
A:There are a couple of key factors to this answer. The diameter of the sheave can make a difference – the smaller the diameter that more bending of the fibers of the rope, thus the promotion of added inefficiency. However, the greatest factor on efficiency of pulleys is directly related to the axial of the sheave(s). The axial of a low efficient pulleys is typically a bushing. A bushing type pulley will only give you approximately 70% efficiency. Whereas the axial of a high efficiency pulley is a ball bearing type. A ball bearing pulley will render an efficiency of approximately 90%. (Read More)
Q: Is there a single helmet the fits all rescue needs?
A: Rescue helmets is another mixed bag of choices that is heavily driven by two major factors; 1) What agency do you work for, and, 2) What rescue environment will you be performing in? Of course every agency and every environment have their own set of standards that further complicates your choice. (Read More)
Q: Is there a single headlamp that fits all needs?
A: No. If there is one item in the rescue world that exceeds all others in sheer numbers of makes, models, and manufactures it might very well be headlamps. A common thread with all rescue equipment, including headlamps is the influence of specific work environments. The personal lighting needs for underground construction versus cave rescue versus IDLH environments versus wilderness rescue and so on is radically different. (Read More)