Technical Rescue

"Technical rescue teams intervene when conventional rescue operations are inappropriate"

Technical rescue teams must intervene in particularly difficult and dangerous situations. Technical rescue operatives specialise in all rope techniques and more complex systems for rescue involving downward / upward evacuation and Tyrolean traverse for example.

Downward evacuation:

Downward evacuation is favoured when possible, as rescuers can take advantage of gravity. The methods used vary depending on the scenario or terrain.

Upward evacuation:

Upward evacuation will usually involve complex hauling systems. These may consist of lightweight pulleys, mechanical winches or a combination of these. Upward evacuation will usually be a team effort due to the complex rigging involved, the ability to work together and maintain perfect coordination is required from all members of the rescue team. 

Tyrolean traverse evacuation:

Evacuation of the victim is often difficult at industrial sites, urban areas and confined spaces or there may be an immovable obstacle such as a river for example. In instances such as these a Tyrolean traverse may be used to create another route for escape. Tyrolean traverses require complex rigging, only those who have been specifically trained would be suitable to make decisions regarding the techniques to be used.

Technical rescue examples:

The examples below show how Petzl products could be used in the previously rescue situations.

Downward evacuation - Intervention with a large team

Downward evacuation using Petzl equipment

Upward evacuation - 'Balancier' technique

Upward evacuation using Petzl equipment

Evacuation by Tyrolean traverse - Backed up rescue system (Vertical & horizontal

  • White ropes: double Tyrolean. Guiding the Petzl Kootenay pulley and the gray back-up rope. Prussic hitches are attached to the blue rope to avoid slack on the gray back up rope.
  • Gray rope: back-up rope (guided)
  • Blue ropes: belay horizontal movement (back and forth)
  • Green rope: allows vertical movement (backed-up pulley system) 

 Tyrolean traverse using Petzl products

Evacuation by rope-to-rope transfer:

An alternative to using the Tyrolean traverse. This technique requires greater clearance than the Tyrolean traverse as the ropes are under less tension. The rope-to-rope transfer is quick to install and requires minimal equipment. In the example below the gray rope provides a back-up belay, the green rope provides movement.

Rope-to-rope transfer using the Petzl I'd