Rope Rescue

"Understanding the general principles of rope rescue will help users implement safe and efficient systems"

Rope rescue can be divided into three main categories, Self rescue, On-site rescue and technical rescue.

Self rescue:

Escape will usually be the primary objective of self rescue. A crane driver for example may have a pre rigged evacuation kit within the cranes cab. Should the driver need to make an escape by means other than the access ladder the evacuation kit could be deployed.

On-site rescue:

When preparing method statement, rescue of an injured or stuck worker must be account for.

The method statement will provide a solution to protect users while they work. Whether collective or individual, the solution must protect all users against falls from height. 

In the event of an incident a executable rescue plan must be in place to; access, release and evacuate the victim. Ready-to-use rescue kits are simple to use and adaptable to several situations. Experienced users who are adequately trained (such as IRATA operatives) may carry personal rescue equipment to rescue an injured or stuck co-worker. Users of equipment in either case must receive regular training to implement the rescue rapidly in the event of an incident.

Technical rescue:

Rescue teams involved in technical rescue must be trained to intervene in any situation. The team will access the situation quickly to devise a rescue plan capable of retrieving any victims. 

When access is limited team members must be able to intervene with their own equipment. Equipment carried by rescuers must be light and versatile.

When access is less limited rescue may be possible by motorized means or the use of specific equipment. 

On-site and technical rescue can be broken into three stages

Petzl rope rescue access victim

Access the victim: Access to the victim is often complicated. In such a situation rope access techniques will most likely be appropriate. If access to the victim is available from above the rescue plan will favour downward progression, where possible. If an access rope is in place, rescuers may ascend the rope using handled and ventral rope clamp techniques to gain access to the victim. Some situations may require rescuers to use climbing techniques to reach the victim if appropriate.

Petzl rope rescue access victim examples
Petzl rope rescue release victim

Release the victim:
Hauling: Releasing the victim from their suspension equipment via a mechanical advantage pulley system. If alone the rescuer may use such a system to conserve energy.
Balancier technique: This counterweight system uses the rescuers body weight to un-weight the victims lanyard, the rescuer descends as the victim ascends. This system is advantageous as it requires minimal equipment. 

Petzl rope rescue release victim examples
Petzl rope rescue evacuate victimEvacuate the victim:
Downward: Victim is evacuated with a descender, this is the easiest evacuation method available. When downward evacuation is impossible the victim must be evacuated either upward or horizontally.
Upward: Rescuers must use either a counterweight or hauling system.
Horizontally: Three ropes are stretched across the distance to be travelled, one is used for carriage, one as a back-up and one to move the stretcher along the carriage rope.
Petzl rope rescue evacuate victim examples
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