Mechanical Advantage Systems - Part 2

As promised, in this article we will look at anchor and belay systems in relation to mechanical advantage systems (MAS). We'll also explore how to simply figure out what a mechanical advantage system's value is by simply looking at it.First, let's briefly...


The last component of a MAS we will discuss is called a load releasing hitch (see Figure 8). The load releasing hitch must be used when tandem prusiks are used as the belay system. In the event, the prusiks should lock up the load, releasing hitch will allow us to transfer the load back onto the main line and in turn free the now locked prusiks. When operating with tandem prusiks it's a good idea to keep a haul system pre-built that can be connected to or "piggybacked" onto the belay line to raise the load allowing you to free the prusiks (see Figure 9).

As with any rope system, organization and good planning are the keys to success. Don't over engineer a simple operation. Keep it simple, keep it safe and keep a good perspective of the operation from start to end. Future articles will focus on anchor and belay systems.

Stay safe, stay progressive

MICHAEL R. DONAHUE is a 13-year veteran of the fire service is assigned to Rescue Company 1 in Elizabeth, NJ. Mike is the owner and founder of Progressive Rescue, a company dedicated to further firefighter's in all aspect of the job. He holds the title of rescue specialist with New Jersey's Urban Search and Rescue Team (NJ-TF1) and he is actively teaching at Middlesex and Somerset fire academies and the Middlesex County College as their Fire Science Program Coordinator. Michael has been guest on two Firehouse.com podcasts: The Buzz on Technical Rescue: Special Operations Roundtable and The Buzz on Technical Rescue: Rope Rescue Operations. View all of Michael's artices and podcasts here. You can reach Michael by e-mail at: progressiverescue@gmail.com.