Reed Thorne

trescue.com

Reed Thorne

ROPE RESCUEwww.t-rescue.comThe Seven Minimalist Rescue Archetypes#1 of 7 MRANo rescuer over the edge•Dynamic fixed brake•Victim hanging in harnesswww.t-rescue.comquickly without ever sending a rescuer into exposure, this would be optimum. In #1the victim’s system by which they are hanging (presumably to the top) isemployed as the sole lowering vehicle for the victim. This means that togain the speed in getting this hanging victim to the ground rapidly, youare willing to use their surviving supporting element as part of the rescuesystem you construct on top. Some teams have strict protocolswhich take issue with using the victim’s still intact system after a fall toperform the rescue. The argument is brought forth at this juncture thatthe victim’s system (supporting element) cannot be trusted. Certainly, thismay be true, but it should be noted that if the system survived theimpact force associated with the fall (if there was one) then it couldmost reasonably be relied upon to lower the victim gently to the ground.The impact of the fall would certainly have been quite a bit more thanwhat the victim’s static weight hanging there is when you arrive.However, if doubt still exists in the integrity of the victim’s supportingelement, another means of rescue should be sought. In other words, adifferent trowel will be needed for this job!ROPE RESCUEHere, the attachment is made to the victim’sposterior D ring as would normallybe the case in industrial incidents.Introduction:The Master’s Tool Bag—Choose the Right ToolThe 7 Minimalist Rescue Archetypes (7MRA) are built upon afoundation of simple to more complex. Not only are the systemssuch, but the number of rescuers needed also builds from the #1on to #7. The reason for this is to give as much latitude as possiblein the decision making of HOW to make the top-down pick offgiven the circumstances. The analogy comes to mind of a mastercarpenter or, closer to home, an accomplished brick or stonemason who assimilates a good many customized trowels andpointers by which to tend his craft as he gains in years and ability.As a mason myself for the early part of my life, I can attest to theaccumulation of over 200 various hand tools to form or work themortar. All of them have subtle-to-profound differences in the toolbag; add to that advantages and disadvantages depending on mortartype or consistency and you have a “tool” for every job it wouldseem. You don’t need to be in construction to see the analogy here.Nor do you need to be a mason; carpentry, as with many trades,has it’s own tool kit. The 7MRA are just such a tool kit. All aresimilar, yet vastly different…a paradox of a sort.ARCHETYPICAL?: Remember also that the 7MRA are “archetypical”which is defined as “typical”, ideal, or a classic example of somethingthat served as the model or pattern for other things of the same type. People oftensay “couldn’t we also do it this way?”. The answer, in most cases,is yes. But remember, when a master carpenter shows up at thedoor to craft your fine hardwood cabinets, they better have the besttool for the job at hand. In other words, a framing axe would certainlydo, but isn’t there a better finishing hammer to do the job?You know…the kind that doesn’t tear up the fine wood surface?Rope rescue, and I might add, rescue in general as a discipline, ismany times this way. It is the knowledge, judgment and understandinggained through years of decision-making that wouldallows us to pull the right tool from our bag at the right time.Discussion of the First of the 7MRA:#1 of 7MRA is a form of low risk “parapet rescue” and is a moredesirable default technique over and above the risky solo and semi solorescues of #2 through #7. Its greatest strength is SPEED OFEVACUATION for the victim, particularly if the victim has beenhanging in their harness for some time where the ravaging effectsof HIP 1 are setting in quickly. Obviously, if rescuers can perform a rescuebyReed Thorneof Ropes that Rescue (RtR)www.ropesthatrescue.comRescuers in Nebraska’s GrandIsland Fire Department practice theuse of an extension pole andYates/RTR Quick Clip in the firsttechnique #1 of the 7MRAADDING A BELAY: Another limitation of technique #1 where norescuer enters into exposure is that there is no way to add a belay line tothe victim without actually making contact with this suspended individual.If the victim is conscious and able to at least attach a safety line tothemselves, then this may alleviate this situation. Again some teams feelthat there is no way to trust the victim to make any connections or assistin their own rescue, even if ever so slightly like the introduction of acarabiner to the harness. Another issue is that some harnesses in industrydo not have an anterior connection point for the victim to be able to dothis. Most industrial workers are attached to the posterior D ring and,hence, the victim will most certainly not be able to make this connectionbehind them in most cases.Photos right, show one suggestion for adding a belay line. It is by allmeans only one means of doing this; there are countless others. Here, along collapsible extension pole (common in tower rescue and industry)with a quick clip 2 open carabiner with rope attached is being used tomake the belay connection. Now, at this juncture the number of rescuepossibilities that afford themselves should be flooding into the mind ofthe reader! You could even use this means of attaching the rescue ropeto the victim as well instead of using the rope grab as shown. It shouldthen be apparent to the casual observer that there is inherently lots offlexibility within technique #1 of the 7MRA. More tools for the tool bag.In analyzing this technique, don’t read more into it than there may be.While the “no rescuer” technique definitely stands alone—as itshould—, it is a very hasty evolution to get someone down simply andexpeditiously. No frills, and in some cases, no safety catch. A belay linehere may, again, be either necessary or not. If the team feels like time isof the essence then they may choose to make the call and go without it.Also, remember that since no rescuer is attending this victim to theground, it may make it easier to justify a no belay operation in #1 of the7MRA. Some teams religiously choose to belay their own personnel, butmay feel that such a rule for the victim is only optional and not mandatory.This decision is the teams, as discussed earlier. Since this “parapetrescue” has some definite limitations that the other six of the 7MRA donot exhibit, it needs to be brought up again here.GRABBING THE VICTIM’S SUPPORTING ELEMENT:Another condition of this technique is that the type of rope grab whichyou are “bolting onto” the victim restraint or supporting element maynot be compatible (see box#2 in illustration). Some lanyards used inindustry may even be rectangular in nature, making it impossible to connectto securely. Generally a prusik hitch on these types of lanyards willwork, but this needs to be worked out before the actual rescue. If thevictim is merely hanging from a fall arrest rope of under ½” (12.7mm)diameter rope, then just about any grab will work sufficiently for thisThe Yates/RTR Hot Stick Rescue Clip Attachment®holds an auto double lock type 4 carabiner openwith rope attached. The extension pole and QuickClip has a universal end on them so that the anglecan be changed to suit the situation.purpose. The knot used at the end of the main line should be a small“gain” so as to not extend this grab too far over the edge, making it difficultfor the rescuer to manage beyond the “parapet” or roofs/cliffsedge. My personal favorite “low gain” end line knot is the double ortriple overhand slip knot (see photos next page). Any good low gainknot (on the bight or retraced) will do. The grab must be run out overthe edge and room given so that when the main line is raised via themechanical advantage, the connecting carabiner does not get traumatized(bent) on the edge. Better if the rope is tied directly into the soft ropegrab, if one is being used to avoid this situation. If a hard grab is used,like a Gibbs, Petzl Rescuescender, Shunt or other handled ascender, acarabiner connection between the main line and the grab will be mandatedin most cases. Also, when disconnecting the victim’s restraint ropeafter the lift, coil up any excess lanyard or rope (box 5 in illustration) andattach it to this grab and send it downward. If you are worried about anyobstructions down below that may hang up on the rope grab, tape up theentire ensemble to prevent trouble down the lower.ISSUE 51 TECHNICALrescueTECHNICALrescue ISSUE 51


ROPE RESCUEwww.t-rescue.comA dynamic fixed brake beingused on top of a power transmissionpylon to lift a strandedlineman during practice ofthe first archetype.RAISING, THEN LOWERING: In order to lift the hanging victimup, release their anchor and lower them down, we’ll need a few additionalpieces of equipment. Back in 2002, a name was arrived upon atRTR which refers to any friction appliance/hitch in series with a smallmechanical advantage (like the AZTEK set-of-fours) as a “dynamic fixedbrake”. Indeed, the reader will see the dynamic fixed bake surface alongwith its cousin, the dynamic traveling brake, later in the 7MRA. You see, allfriction bakes/hitches can be implemented in two ways: fixed or traveling(Briefly, Fixed means the brake is attached to an anchorage and a braketender lowers a mass down. Traveling is where a fixed rope is used by aperson to abseil or rappel down using a brake which travels along).In most rescue circles around the world, it has never been standard practiceto simply attach a rescue line to the supporting element of any suspended,potentially traumatized, victim and merely CUT that restraint.The resulting drop onto the rescue system, even if ever so slightly, cancause or exacerbate extant injuries. Sadly, I have seen videotaped rescuesThe rescuer/brake tender leaningover the edge and placing the ropegrab (here in this example, a PetzlSHUNT) on the red rope that thevictim is hanging on below.All is in place with the new yellowmain line attached to the rope grabwith a carabiner and triple overhandslip knotwhere indeed this is what occurred. Sounds to me like the framing axe used onthe kitchen cabinets!Some devices, like the Petzl STOP or I’D can be used to provide a lift onthe main line through an inline pulley system, then be converted to afixed brake. The I’D in particular, makes a very good progress capturedevice on the raise and then is releasable for the lowering. It can certainlybe doubled into the dynamic fixed bake spot in many, but not all, of the7MRA detailed later. For those not having the budget or maybe themeans to lift then lower, a simple “braking over on the line” or vector inbetween any friction hitch/appliance will do. This indeed is the poorman’s lift but is still one of the most basic “tools” of tower rescue withminimal equipment.FRICTION APPLIANCE: The illustration shows a small brakerack with hyper bars but any friction appliance can be used that is ratedat least for a “climbing load” of around 100kg. So this means that in apinch ANY good friction hitch (Munter), climbing belay device relyingon the Sticht principle can be usedfor those relying on what may be ontheir harness. Remember thoughthat any friction appliance or hitchthat is used must be tied off beforethe lifting element in series with it isused. This applies to auto stopdescenders as well as they may beworn out with use and can slipwhilst you are doing the lifting.LIFTING ELEMENT: In theintroduction to the 7MRA in the lastinstallment, one end of theAZTEK, called the “system end”,was clearly presented as a personalmechanical advantage useful for somany lifting tasks in rescue. It iswhat is called a “set-of-fours” (orSOFs; a set of two-blocks at eachend) which can be rigged as both asimple 5:1 or a 4:1 change of directionpulley system. Whether it is oneor the other will depend on whichdirection you need to pull for all ofthe 7MRA; left or right, up or down(with an additional small mini pulley,The rope grab having lifted thevictim’s line up creating slack, andsubsequently disconnected andready for down.a 5:1 pulley system can be rigged asshown in the illustration as a 5:1cd).Since this article can be viewed as aTISSUE 51 TECHNICALrescue


ROPE RESCUE1MRA #No Rescuer Over The EdgeDynamic Fixed BrakeVictim Hanging in HarnessMUST HAVE:2 Rescuers: Belayer (B) Brake (1)1 Belay Device (Climbing Load)1 Friction Device (Climbing Load)1 AZTEK set of 4’s2 Rescue ropes which reach theground: Main & Belay1 Rope Grab1 Edge Protection1 SureClip® & Extension Polesort of apologetic for the carrying and use of the personal AZTEK, wewill restrict our mention of alternate, perfectly suitable lifting elements.More on this as the case builds for such a kit in the future.NOTE: For reference, the green part of the illustration in this and all the followingarticles is always the AZTEK SOFs.MAIN LINE: The main line that is used needs to be long enough towww.t-rescue.comreach the ground with spare. Care for protecting the edge where it runsover the edge. Easy to do while the main line is still not under tension,before the lifting element is engaged to take the weight of your victim.BELAY LINE: Same as the main line but the belay is totally optionalto some rescuers, especially if one of the team members is not involvedover the edge in exposure.www.t-rescue.comHere is a step-by-step rundown on this minimalist rescue. Follow alongby referring to the illustration opposite.BOX #1Preparation: The rescuer/brake tender (black “1”) and optional belayer(blue “B”) arrive at a position directly above the hanging victim (grey“V”). It is assumed that the victim’s anchorage is accessible on top wherethe rope grab can later be attached in box #2. This is standard for windowwashers or those working sometimes on swing stage scaffolds (theirfall arrest ropes generally come to the top of the building or structure).Rescuer/Brake Tender: Brake tender builds dynamic fixed brake for100kg climbing load (CL) in line with the victim’s anchorage on top.There must be room on top either horizontally or vertically (dependingon orientation and working room) to collapse the SOFs in line with thebrake of your choice (tied off).Optional Belayer: May attach active belay rope for single person climbingload (CL) to victim if they arewithin reach with extension pole.Victim, if conscious, can also attachthis safety line if feasible.BOX #2Rescuer/Brake Tender: Installs edgeprotection. Leans over edge (on belayif needed) and connects rope grabover edge on victim’s restraint.Attaches end of rope coming fromdynamic fixed brake to rope grab.Make sure rope grab and carabiner (ifused) is low enough as to not interferewith the edge during raising withSOFs. Takes up all slack rope throughfixed brake. Ties off brake if needed.Optional Belayer: On belay for durationof operation.BOX #3Rescuer/Brake Tender: Ready forup rope on SOFs to lift victim smalldistance to unload their restraint system.Once this is slack, SOF’s shouldbe tied off before the fixed brake isoperated. Victim restraint can now bedisconnected and secured. If significantlength in this restraint remains,coil up balance and send downattached to rope grab.Optional Belayer: Follows movementsof victim.BOX #4Rescuer/Brake Tender: Prepares fordown rope on the main line throughthe fixed brake. Untie if necessary andlower victim to ground.Optional Belayer: Belay to ground.BOX #5Rescuer/Brake Tender: Lowers victimto ground. Optional tag line canbe used and attached to rope grab(rigged for three way loading) so thatvictim can be pulled slightly awayfrom wall. A second tag or guidingline would need to be thrown downbefore the lift at box #3 and a groundtag person would need to apply slighttension.ROPE RESCUECONCLUSION: While technique #1 is perhaps the least glorious of allthe 7 Minimalist Rescue Archetypes, the practice of not sending a rescuerinto exposure is the safest of the lot. Considered again a defaultpractice, it should therefore not be forgotten and rehearsed often. It isoften not considered for the simple reason that it may not appear to beas attractive to practitioners wishing and striving for more technologicalanswers to rescue scenarios. As far as what is best for the patient who ispossibly severely distressed as a result of suspension trauma (HIP) theargument can be made for its use more often than not. Again, this is atrowel in my bag that I would not allow rust to form.1 Harness-Induced Pathology: suspension trauma2 Two US models: Sure Clip® and the Yates/RTR Hot Stick Rescue Clip Attachment® areimpressive for this taskAll Photos by the author 2007from Ropes That Rescue Ltd. CollectionTISSUE 51 TECHNICALrescueTECHNICALrescue ISSUE 51

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