Chapter: Rope Rescue Guidelines
Purpose: To establish uniform and standard guidelines for Rope Rescue for the
Central Ohio Strike
Responsibility: It is each member's responsibility to comply with the provisions of
Only members who have documented training and are practiced in rope rescue skills and
have trained with the Central Ohio Strike Team, may be suspended from rope, rig /
operate systems, and perform evacuations of victims.
Rope rescue is a dangerous activity and safety shall be stressed. The choice of
techniques, equipment, procedures, and personnel shall be made to maximize safety. A
member's primary responsibility is to protect themselves and other members of the team.
All other means of access and egress must be considered first. It should also be
understood that this guideline is in no way all inclusive of all possible situations.
During rope rescue operations judgment, training, experience, and coordination between
team members is a necessity.
A systematic approach to the rescue operation shall be standard:
1. Establish Command
2. Survey the scene
3. Establish sectors (operations, rescue, rigging, etc.) as indicated by the
4. Control any observed or anticipated hazards
5. Evaluate equipment and systems already in service by first responding
6. Take steps to prevent further injury to victim or to rescuers.
7. Assess the victim/s condition to determine what resources will be needed to
perform the evacuation and summon same if not on scene.
A safety check shall be performed on each system prior to use; this also includes
systems already placed in service, prior to team’s arrival. Only a team member
can deem rigging safe for use by any other team member. If the Squad Leader
does not delegate a safety officer position, then the Squad Leader assumes
Standard commands such as: "on belay", "off belay", "rock", "tension", "slack",
"haul", "haul slow", "set", "stop", shall be used at all times.
4. System set-up
The procedure used for rescue will most commonly be a system to lower rescuer
into proper position. This system will include use of a “RPH” system (rack-
pulley-hitch- load release) with a secondary belay in place for each rescuer.
All raising and lowering systems shall have a tandem prusik belay rigged and
available for use. Belays will be backed up and sized to accommodate actual or
Anchor(s) selected and used for riggings should be evaluated and “determined”
to be stronger than the system attached to it and, when possible, be a column,
rail or other structural element with supports or attachments such that the
anchoring attachments cannot slip or be slipped off the anchor.
Once a rescuer is over the edge, only a designated Edge Person will
communicate with the rescuer(s) and the haul teams. The Edge Person shall be
secured to an anchor.
All personal equipment shall be pre-approved before use in either training or
actual rescues. Equipment shall be subject to Squad Leader / Rescue Team
Manager or their designee's approval. Their decision will be final. Nationally
recognized organizations, such as NFPA, ANSI, OSHA, UIAA, etc., who are
known for establishing requirements for rope equipment shall be referenced for
guidelines used in equipment evaluation.
All life safety rope shall meet NFPA 1983 standards, unless used as a non-life
safety utility line. All rope shall be no less than one half inch (1/2) / thirteen
millimeters (13 mm) in diameter. Prusik rope shall be a minimum of 8mm in
All carabiners shall be locking and have a “General Use” NFPA rating.
Carabiners may be "doubled" to achieve the appropriate safety factor.
Tandem triple wrapped prusiks will be the system of choice for belays and rope
grab devices. Mechanical ascenders may be used in ascending evolutions, or in
systems that have no potential for shock loading.
Power winches, cranes, etc. are not acceptable as a means for the movement of
rescue personnel or victims without careful evaluation from Team Manager.
Any surfaces, edges, or items that could damage the rescue rope, webbing or
associated system hardware shall be padded or otherwise protected whenever
All systems connected to a victim shall be securely connected to the victim.
When a rescue operation is being assembled and as soon as qualified personnel
arrive on the scene, a Rapid Intervention Crew should be assembled and stand in
alert for interventions for rescuer safety.