A question from a company safety trainer who wants to keep his winch operations training current. He asks us for help with leads on good winch ops; manuals, training PowerPoints, etc. Any help out there from you fire service winch users, speak up please...
Hello Mr. Moore,
I read your articles about winch operations. I had located them on the internet while seeking winch training possibilities. They were very informative and interesting to me.
I was wondering if you know of any training DVD’s or winch safety programs that I could recommend for our annual Vertical Limit Safety Seminars coming up in February 2011. This is an important part of our industry that I believe needs more emphasis on training. I aim to be pro-active in keeping our employee’s safe. That’s why I am contacting you about this.
Our company has an excellent safety record and I plan to do whatever it takes to keep it that way!
Any ideas you might have, would be much appreciated.
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12-05-2010, 09:22 PM #1
Where Can I Go For Winch Use Info?Ron Moore, Forum Moderator
12-05-2010, 09:57 PM #2
Wreckmaster has a winching program.If memory serves I believe ramsey winch also had one. If it is still published the US Army had a good basic recovery manual with a lot of useful information. Not a lot has changed,notably the use of synthetics to replace wire and the method in which the winch is driven being the big two. T.C.
12-05-2010, 11:17 PM #3
- Join Date
- Nov 2007
Here is some good basic info from Warn Industries.
I created some training materials for my old department, but it's waaaay too big of file to post here. I could burn it to a CD and mail it or perhaps email it, but is a 12.0 MB file.
12-06-2010, 09:47 AM #4
- Join Date
- Jun 2009
I know Ramsey had a DVD that went over basics but did not go in-depth with regards to working loads, rating, and physics.
I would think one of the best ways to get good practical training would be to take one of Billy Leach's Rescue Classes. These are rescue based.
If more training is needed in self recovery I would contact Bruce Elfstrom of Overland Experts.
He teaches off road training for recreation 4-wheelers as well as the military and proper winch operation is a big part of this.
An excellent recovery article of his was in an issue of Overland Journal this past year. He also had an excellent article on how to properly use a Hi-Lift Jack - something that is about as dangerous as it is functional. Both of these articles can be viewed on their website:
Hope this helps.
12-06-2010, 10:16 AM #5
Having been involved in Billys classes,you'll be EXPOSED to winching operations but in a majority of the classes we aren't TEACHING winching. The exception I can think of was the man powered M/A class we did in NH about 2-3 years ago. There are several trainers for WINCHING operations,Scooby (Bigtruckrescue.com) puts on one of the better ones. Along with Wreckmaster,which will cost you.But it's worth every penny. BTDT. When my business is sold,I will likely take up teaching winching classes but right now we're too busy. It IS a FORGOTTEN art. T.C.
Last edited by Rescue101; 12-06-2010 at 10:23 AM.
12-17-2010, 10:34 AM #6
- Join Date
- Nov 2007
- North Carolina
I'll share info I have regarding winching (for rescuers) if you'll send me an email requesting such. Send to: email@example.com
01-09-2011, 02:54 PM #7
I'm confident you will agree, Jeff is thought of very highly within the profession and is a great guy. I just wanted to give Jeff his do... many times I'm given credit for stuff when in fact I'm not the driving force. I have never been one to take credit for other peoples accomplishments. Though I do boast that I'm the best looking one on the team..lol
02-22-2011, 09:45 AM #8
02-22-2011, 10:13 AM #9
SORRY,not gonna buy into the "MYTH BUSTED". While it's a good thread,it leaves out a couple variables. The article DOESN'T state what size, type(construction) and lay of wire rope was used. I've been having the argument over at FN with Ben Waller ( Noted instructor) about covering the wire. I DON'T,I WON'T. While the experiment might show the characteristics of a 5/16ths or 3/8ths rope,it is NOT at all indicative of what will happen to a wire center wire rope of greater diameter. MY ADVISE. Set up a "Kill zone" and NOBODY enters it during active winching operations. Get all the education you can,find out what stuff weighs. To RIG properly you need to KNOW what the MAXIMUM load is that will be placed on ANY part of the rigging. AND allow a safety factor. KNOW your rigging and it's WLL(Working Load Limit).
The reason I say I don't buy into the scenerio is I have witnessed a 3/4 wire rope fail catastrophically. Cutting a piece of webbing is one thing, having a rope tear and fail from overload is another entirely. It DOES NOT react the same way. There is a LOT more energy in the larger rope. Work within the safe limits of YOUR equipment and you will NOT have to experience this kind of failure. T.C.
02-27-2011, 11:39 PM #10
first of all.. I have never seen anything thats free really worth its weight in gold. When my life, that of a fellow team member, or the public are at risk.. i want to be well informed.
I breezed thru that link above listing some training stuff... that I guess is free. You get what u pay for. If your life or anyone else's around you is not worth a dollar, then have at it..lol. some of the info I read.. is useless, the author is severely misinformed, and you should probably contact a lawyer now, for when someone gets hurt.
I have read various articles in regards to winching in fire service magazines. For the most part, they are off base. They are written by people that, well don't use a winch and never really had. Its safe to say, the fire service has many trainers teaching rescue stuff that they really have no experience at what they are teaching. But they attend a "instructor class" and whala.. they can teach.
Proper training in the use of a winch, just doesn't cover the winch... it also covers the rigging associated with the winch. One needs to research and acquire proper training for their department in this equipment like they would for anything else.
When researching, ask for credentials and a very detailed resume as to their qualifications to be instructing in the use of rigging/winch. I've said this a million times and I'll say it again, demand to see their qualifications and experience. Verify its accuracy!! You will be surprised as to what you find in some cases.
Know-body is going to give you anything thats a good quality training program for free. You might get some decent guidelines but thats it. Professionals that I know, spend at the minimum of two full days to receive the basics in winching/rigging. THE BASICS!! some spend a full week and beyond.
02-27-2011, 11:58 PM #11
Scooby, what is YOUR opinion on covering the rope while working? T.C.
02-28-2011, 12:34 AM #12
LOL you and I both know the correct answer to that, and you have already made yours known.
I'm going to take this a little further.. because now I'm all fired up.
If one knew what the heck they where doing in the first place, why would they need to put that on the wire rope in the first place??
When I engage the lever for a winch to operate, I know dam well I'm rigged for success!! I'm rigged within my safe working loads of the rope AND the rigging. I also know how to calculate my resistance I need to overcome. have inspected my winch, rope, and rigging prior to the operation also.
Just because the object you are trying to move might weigh lets say 5000 pounds.. in most cases thats NOT the weight you are winching. I know how to calculate Resistance (resistance is what force you need to overcome to move it). I also know what my anchor weight will need to be to overcome that resistance. I also know how to apply more anchors to help me achieve that goal.
Its no difference then people being taught to put a piece of plywood between a cushion and the side of the trailer. If I don't like you, and you have some good life insurance and a hot wife, well I'll tell you to do something that stupid. So when the plywood flys out and decapitates you.. well that will free up your wife.
But I'll weight 3 months or so before putting on the charm.. because that will be the politically correct thing to do......
sorry for the rant, but just keeping it real.
02-28-2011, 07:18 AM #13
It's good to hear from people with loads of experience that alot of the winch info out there isn't completely accurate.
These opinions are mine and do not reflect the opinions of any organizations I am affiliated with.
02-28-2011, 09:29 AM #14
03-24-2011, 07:55 PM #15
I did it
I was the guy who put up the "Myth Busted" web page on my agency's web site. I was the guy who designed the test, built the rig, did the testing, saw the results. Some further explanation:
The test was to see how wire rope reacted to a sudden release. I watch the TV show "Myth Busters" which proves or disproves some of the absolute laws of physics we think we know. I've been fooled more than a few times when I made a prediction of an outcome and was wrong. And I thought I knew it all!
One thing the show has changed in my mind is that "if I didn't see it, it can't do what you say" or better yet "show me the money." We do need more testing like this in our industry.
An old wrecker operator by the name of Wes Wilburn once told me, "Boy, when that hook let's go it going home." That was his way of saying that as long as the line is stretched straight, it will recoil straight. I've argued this many times with students, one who told me he persoannly saw the autopsy report of a guy cut in half while standing next to a wire rope that broke. It didn't make sense to me, so the test was performed.
(BTW - Wes isn't that old, but he knows his vocation and people in the wrecker industry pay big bucks to hear what he has to say).
I'm not in any way advocating a change in any way we conduct business. Cover the rope? Yes. Stand back? Yes. Be careful? Absolutley!
Now, the test. Nope, it wasn't a pure example but close enough for us. You won't see anything let go suddenly, not with US made equipment. There will be a momentary lapse as the failing object deforms, such as rope breaking or hook stretching out. That's why we didn't use a sudden release mechanisim. Cutting the webbing was easy and faster than you can imagine. We had it loaded to 7k lbs. and didn't dare go higher because the huge tree we tied it to started creaking!
If you think about the physics here, it makes sense. The wire rope recoils back towards the spool. It does not and will not lash out, curl around, whip out or any other oddity. Why would it? The force is linear. Size of rope and stresses (tension used) makes little difference. If you are going to tell me about an aircraft carriers arresting gear, that's completley different (attachments and tension vector).
Funny thing. The week after we did our test (7 times, different ways, same result each time) Myth Busters (the show) did the same experiement with the same result. They tried it a bunch of different ways and could not get the wire rope to whip around.
Three years ago, we had a wire rope failure caught on video. A wrecker was performing an upright job on an overtuned 18-wheeler. The angles were bad (under a bridge, best they could do) and the nylon slind they were using slid and failed. The wire rope did exactly what we said it would. Since "home" was the pulley on the extended boom, the whole assembly (hook & end of sling) went up and then down, on several firefighters. No injuries, but a lot of scared folks.
Lesson learned... when working around anything lifting or pulling we treat it like a haz mat zone. Time, distance and shielding... make sense?
Not everyone will agree with what I said here, very controversial subject. Do some experiements and see what you come up with. Don't judge until you have scientific facts. And continue to cover that rope!John E. Burruss, NREMT-P
Heavy-Technical Rescue Instructor
Virginia Department of Fire Programs
03-24-2011, 09:36 PM #16
John, WHY cover the rope? Have you ever seen a wreckmaster trained operator cover a rope?Have you ever seen Wes advocate covering a rope? Bet you haven't, and I bet you won't. KNOWING what you are pulling and the safe WLL of your rigging is more important than any covering you can do. I've personally witnessed a fatality where a piece of underrated rigging failed while mud running. Shot a chain bolt right thru a spectators heart. NOT a sanctioned event, bunch of kids out mudding and got stuck.. One of the reason I advocate maintaining a safe area. I KNOW the loads I work with and I KNOW my gear(rigging) But there is NO logical reason to have personnel in that area,absolutely NONE. That's why I demand that area vacated before engaging the winch lever.Now at night,I've seen a wire"flagged"so you won't trip over it(wire is stabilizing the vehicle). I guess it won't hurt anything but it doesn't amount to much either,at least in bigger wire. Just trying to understand the reasoning. T.C.
Last edited by Rescue101; 03-24-2011 at 09:38 PM.
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