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207-03 Rope Rescue Operations

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					ARLINGTON FIRE DEPARTMENT                                          TECHNICAL RESCUE OPERATI0NS
STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES                                          ROPE RESCUE OPERATIONS
ISSUED: MARCH 2002                                                                       207.03


PURPOSE

To ensure that rope rescue incidents and training exercises are conducted in a safe efficient manner, a
Safety Officer will be assigned and must be qualified at minimum to operations level. All personnel
participating in rope rescue evolutions shall be familiar with and adhere to this standard. No alterations or
changes to this standard shall be made without the approval of the Special Operations Chief.

SCOPE

These guidelines are designed to provide the basic mandatory practices and procedures for all Technical
Rescue Team (TRT) members and suppression companies to follow during all rope rescue training and
operations.

TRAINING

All training in each of the TRT areas (awareness, operations, and technician) will comply with the Arlington
Fire Department TRT guidelines, NFPA 1670 & 1006, and applicable OSHA standards. All training involving
rope rescue operations shall adhere to those lesson plans approved by the TRT Program Manager. The TRT
Program Manager shall maintain training records for all training conducted. The personnel assigned to the
TRT program, the TRT Program Manager and TRT back-up members must attend technical rescue training
and maintain their skills in accordance with all TRT procedures. Only those practices approved by the TRT
Program Manager shall be permitted.

1.      It is the objective of the TRT Program that all TRT members are trained to the technician level for
        rope rescue, and that all back-up members are trained at minimum, to the operations level for rope
        rescue.

        a.      The TRT Program Manager will approve the level of training required for each member.
        b.      On emergency incidents, no members will perform beyond their level of training.
        c.      On emergency incidents, all members will be supervised by an Operations or Technician
                level trained member.

2.      Personnel approved at the operations level will participate in regular training sessions that validate
        the individual's ability to perform the skills listed below. These standards are considered minimum
        requirements and may be adjusted by the TRT Program Manager. Each training session shall
        include a review of the following:

        a.      ICS system
        b.      Operating Procedure
        c.      Knots
        d.      Rigging

                i)      mechanical advantage systems
                ii)     hauling and lowering systems
                iii)    stokes basket and sked rescues
                iv)     patient packaging
                v)      edge protection

SAFETY

Emergency incidents that require rope rescue often-present problems that require technical skills and
training. Because of the nature of these emergencies, safety must govern every action undertaken by
emergency response personnel. The requirements contained in this procedure are designed to provide a
safe-response environment for both rescuers and victims.
1.       Protective Clothing

                                                 Page 1 of 5
ARLINGTON FIRE DEPARTMENT                                                 TECHNICAL RESCUE OPERATI0NS
STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES                                                 ROPE RESCUE OPERATIONS
ISSUED: MARCH 2002                                                                              207.03



         Minimum acceptable protective clothing on rope rescue incidents shall include TRT helmet, gloves,
         and eye protection.

         a.       Gloves shall be worn whenever personnel handle rope or equipment.
         b.       Helmets (TRT or Firefighter) shall be worn by all personnel upon entering the safety zone
                  (Operations Section).
         c.       Each TRT member shall have a helmet light source.
         d.       Each TRT member shall wear eye protection (goggles, eye glasses).

2.       Edge Safety

         All personnel operating within 5 feet of the edge of any height shall be tethered to an anchor point.

EQUIPMENT

         Approved Equipment

         a.       All equipment and rescue techniques used in rope rescue training operations shall be
                  approved for use by the TRT Program Manager.
         b.       Those standards set in NFPA 1983 shall be used as a guideline in the selection of all
                  equipment.

INCIDENT COMMAND

All emergency incidents involving rope rescue shall utilize the Incident Command system as outlined. The
Incident Commander shall establish a safety zone on all rescue incidents.

The Safety Zone is a perimeter around the rescue area sufficient to protect personnel and bystanders.

The Incident Commander shall assign a Technical Rescue Group Officer on all rope rescue incidents. This
individual will supervise rope rescue activities on the incident.

Technical Rescue Group Office (Team Leader):

1.       Shall be certified to the operations or technician level.

2.      Is responsible for the coordination of rescue procedures and shall determine the method to be used to effect
rescue.

3.       Shall monitor each phase of the rescue to ensure an efficient, safe operation.

4.       Shall inspect all rigging before rappels or lowers are made.

5.       Shall be tethered to an anchor point any time when working near the edge.

6.       Shall assign a Rigging Officer (team leader) for each rescue incident.

7.       Shall assign a Safety Officer for each rescue incident.




                                                     Page 2 of 5
ARLINGTON FIRE DEPARTMENT                                            TECHNICAL RESCUE OPERATI0NS
STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES                                            ROPE RESCUE OPERATIONS
ISSUED: MARCH 2002                                                                         207.03


Rigging Officer:

1.      Shall be certified to the operations or technician level.

2.      Is responsible for determining the rigging and anchor points consistent with the method of rescue
        chosen by the Technical Rescue Group Officer and will supervise team members assigned to rigging.

3.      Shall monitor the integrity of the rigging and anchor system throughout the rescue incident.

4.      Rigging shall include a mechanical advantage system, lowering system, safety belay system, and
        have the capability to change over.

Safety Officer:

1.      Shall be certified to the operations or technician level.

2.      Shall monitor each phase of the rescue to ensure an efficient, safe operation.

3.      Has the authority to halt any phase of the rescue operation, if necessary, to correct or prevent any
        unsafe practice or condition.

4.      Shall inspect all rigging before rappels or lowers are made, and safety check all personnel going over
        the edge.

5.      Shall be tethered to an anchor point any time when near the edge.

LOWERING/RAPPELLING

Lowering a rescuer over the side, is the preferred method, to reach the victim. This method provides a
hands-free environment for the rescuer, and more incident control for the Rescue Group Officer.

Rappelling is considered the last option in rope rescue. Prior to the initiation of any rappelling operation the
Incident Commander shall exhaust all other available means to effect rescue.

The lowering of a rescuer shall be considered prior to the decision to rappel.

1.      A belay shall be used on all rescue operations.

2.      Two (2) lines shall be rigged on all lowering operations. The second line shall be used as a belay
        line.

3.      Only designated lifeline will be used for rope rescue operations.

4.      Lines will be designated either by color or by use.

5.      Only lines used for rigging shall be used.

6.      Anchor points shall be sufficient to support the rated capacity of the rope.

7.      A primary and secondary anchor point shall be used for each rope.

8.      Whenever possible, a self-equalizing anchor system shall be used.

9.      If a two-anchor system exceeds the 90-degree limit, a third anchor point or a change of direction
        technique shall be considered.

EDGE PROTECTION

                                                     Page 3 of 5
ARLINGTON FIRE DEPARTMENT                                           TECHNICAL RESCUE OPERATI0NS
STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES                                           ROPE RESCUE OPERATIONS
ISSUED: MARCH 2002                                                                        207.03



I.      Edge protection shall be utilized on all rope operations.

2.      Edge Protection shall be secured with any of the following equipment:
        a.     static kernmantle rope
        b.     webbing
        c.     anchor straps
        d.     accessory cord

COMMUNICATIONS

Radio Communications

1.      Primary communications for rope rescue are to be made via portable radio.

2.      Whenever possible, incidents involving rope rescue operations should be conducted on a channel
        assigned by command to ensure uninterrupted communications.

3.      It is recommended that all personnel on rope during operations be equipped with a portable radio and
        a whistle.

4.      Radio designations for personnel on rope shall correspond to the number of the rescuer over the
        edge, that is, rescuer 1, rescuer 2, etc.

5.      Personnel assigned to belay positions shall be equipped with a portable radio. If a top belay is
        utilized, the portable radio utilized by the Technical Rescue Sector or Rigging Officer may suffice.

Alternate Communications

1.      If portable radio communication is not possible, communication may be made via whistle.

2.      Whistle communications shall be as follows:
         One (1) short whistle means Stop.
         Two (2) whistles means On Rope or Haul.
         Three (3) whistles means On Rappel.
         Four (4) whistles means Off Rope.
         One (1) long whistle designates an Emergency.

3.      A third means of communications may be done by bullhorn.

TYPICAL SITUATIONS

All incidents involving rope rescue require the same fundamental actions by the units involved. Each incident
requires the following:

1.      Size up the situation. Make a complete situation report, requesting additional specialized resources,
        if necessary.

2.      Implement the Incident Command System.

3.      Determine the method of rescue to be utilized, and brief the entire team on their assignments as they
        pertain to the rescue operation.




                                                  Page 4 of 5
ARLINGTON FIRE DEPARTMENT                                         TECHNICAL RESCUE OPERATI0NS
STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES                                         ROPE RESCUE OPERATIONS
ISSUED: MARCH 2002                                                                      207.03


4.   Contact the victim and determine that individual's level of cooperation.

5.   Inform the victim of your plan for the rescue and what actions that individual will be expected to assist
     with.

6.   Commence the rescue procedures, following the guidelines and safety regulations in this and other
     Departmental SOPs.

7.   Coordinate with EMS patient needs (transport).

8.   Ensure all personnel are accounted for.

9.   Terminate incident, return to service equipment, apparatus.




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