1. #1
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    Default Pre-rigged Z-Rigs

    We're debating having pre-rigged z-rigs vs. going through setting up at every evolution.

    We currently do not have anything pre-rigged. This required tying prussiks and rigging z-rigs at any incident which we've proven through training and actual incidents slows the operation down a bit given our limited manpower initial response. The prevailing reason we've done this is that it's felt that our personnel need to know the systems and be able to rapidly assemble them and recognize when something is rigged incorrectly. Secondary to that is the concern that pre-rigged means knots sit tied for long periods decreasing the flexibility of the lines and ultimately rope strength.

    The other side of this is the actual time it takes to set up systems slows the time tot he victim and subsequently the overall rescue time. One thought is to pre-rig our z-rigs and and set-ups and have the personnel retie or switch them out an schedule to ensure the contact time with the systems and to alleviate any concerns regarding knots being tied for long periods of time.

    Any thoughts, ideas and comments would be truly appreciated. We clearly do not have a whole lot of incidents, so ensuring proficiency and efficiency is our end goal.

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    The truck companies had their own discretion in my old department. The ones near me had pre-rigged Z's for all the reasons you stated. It was beneficial in reducing prep time onscene but also helped when the truck was staffed with OT'ers on a given shift.
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    I'm not a fan of a pre-tied Z rig system.

    Two big issues as I see them:

    A Z rig is OK for a change from a lower to a haul system because you are still able to use the same rope. If you are "piggybacking" it on to your main line, why not use a 5:1 block and tackle and give yourself some more MA for the same amount of haul field?

    If people are unable to build the most basic of haul systems on scene and quickly, do they really have any business hanging a fireman's life and a victim's life on rope? I don't think they do.

    Rope calls happen infrequently for most fire departments. That's exactly why it is necessary to maintain proficiency, as some of your people have said. As for time on scene: I think the longest part of a rope scene is establishing anchors. Once that is done, everything else goes along a bit easier.

    I think it is fair to say that most people should be able to set up a z rig in the time it takes to find and tie most anchors systems. Why not have a team doing each: one team for anchors, one for system setup?

    Loosely tied knots not under tension causing a problem? I'm sure someone has tested it at some point, but I'll bet it's not a huge problem. If the level of rope scrutiny is such that a team is focusing on that, then surely they could be expected to tie a 3:1 without issue.

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    I agree with DC. I can see a block and tackle being prerigged as it is a "go to" set up.

    I am not a fan of pre-riggs as I have stated on this forum before. A proficient rope rescuer would be able to assemble any MA in the same time it would take another resucer to untangle what they removed from the bag.

    If your set up times are slow, take a look at how your equipment is deployed. A lot of teams are assembling "Go" bags that have key equipment in a centralized, easy to access location.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DCFDRescue2 View Post
    I'm not a fan of a pre-tied Z rig system.

    If people are unable to build the most basic of haul systems on scene and quickly, do they really have any business hanging a fireman's life and a victim's life on rope? I don't think they do.
    Agreed. Our issue isn't the inability it's the very limited number of on duty personnel that are on the initial assignment. By the time the system is set up we're generally in good shape with plenty of qualified help, but when 4-5 personnel arrive and must start from scratch and do everything, inclusive of the IC, it's a time issue.
    Quote Originally Posted by DCFDRescue2 View Post
    Rope calls happen infrequently for most fire departments. That's exactly why it is necessary to maintain proficiency, as some of your people have said. As for time on scene: I think the longest part of a rope scene is establishing anchors. Once that is done, everything else goes along a bit easier.

    I think it is fair to say that most people should be able to set up a z rig in the time it takes to find and tie most anchors systems. Why not have a team doing each: one team for anchors, one for system setup?
    This is how we train and do it, but teams turn out to be singular members. Our Team is small career/combo FD based where we have 5 personnel on duty, but may be as few as 2 on the squad to start depending on other runs. We relay heavily on off duty personnel and being the only staffed and trained department in the area, our options are quite limited. Our team has proven to be up to the task with at least three challenging rescues in the past 5-6 years and a few more more run of the mill calls, but we're looking to be better and it appears for the time being, personnel increases are in the cards.

    As I said, the actual tying of the knots and setting up of the systems is not really an issue, just the limited manpower and time it takes when you're running quite short. Your point about proficiency is not to be ignored, it's what we've said for years every time this issue arises, but my question is if those of you who are doing this far more see a physical/danger issue with pre-rigged systems?

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    Quote Originally Posted by jmatthe2 View Post

    If your set up times are slow, take a look at how your equipment is deployed. A lot of teams are assembling "Go" bags that have key equipment in a centralized, easy to access location.
    This is another issue that I agree we should really study better. Our equipment bags are not as easy as they should be to ensure your in the right bag before the zipper even opens. Go Bags seem to be a way to ensure everything you need is at the ready and excess equipment is not in the way or weighing the bag down.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jmatthe2 View Post
    I agree with DC. I can see a block and tackle being prerigged as it is a "go to" set up.

    I am not a fan of pre-riggs as I have stated on this forum before. A proficient rope rescuer would be able to assemble any MA in the same time it would take another resucer to untangle what they removed from the bag.

    If your set up times are slow, take a look at how your equipment is deployed. A lot of teams are assembling "Go" bags that have key equipment in a centralized, easy to access location.
    Agreed... it would be nice if all of our team members are totally dialed in, the fact is that they aren't. If we followed the no pre-rigging line of thinking that many are suggesting then we should also eliminate the pre-connected attack lines from our engines and only stretch hose from the hose bed after selecting and attaching the appropriate nozzle (and so on).

    In the interest of reducing the time it takes at a rope emergency we pre-build our most commonly used systems; the ones that solve most of our problems (like a pre-connected attack line does). But we still train on building the other, less frequently used stuff, like rigging a 9:1 compound pulley system or using a tracking line offset (or like getting a 350' long 2 1/2" line to the rear of the building). That way we maintain our skills yet don't unnecessarily slow down the rescue.

    Certainly not the only way to do business, just one idea.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue Dave View Post
    Agreed... it would be nice if all of our team members are totally dialed in, the fact is that they aren't. If we followed the no pre-rigging line of thinking that many are suggesting then we should also eliminate the pre-connected attack lines from our engines and only stretch hose from the hose bed after selecting and attaching the appropriate nozzle (and so on).
    I see where you are trying to go with your analogy, but I think it has a flaw. With an engine being analogous to our anchor, we have the ability to move our anchor to roughly the position we want. Additionally, we have the ability to carry multiple length pre-rigs ( different length pre-connects) and choose the one that suits us best when we pull up on scene.

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    To me this boils down to how much time it should really take you to build this system from scratch, and if allowing that time is worth it to know that it has been done right. To me, it is. The only things we carry pretied on our truck companies are our LRHs (which are periodically disassembled and retied), the Stokes basket 4:1/5:1 and prussiks. Everything else is made on scene when/as we need it.
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    I'd have to agree with Rescuedave and DC pre-built systems just seem like a good idea until you need to build one from scratch. Your MAS training shouldn't consist of pulling it out of a bag finding an anchor and calling it a day. Rigging is a thinking mans game and you need to know and furthermore understand all the in's and out's of everything you build. 4/5:l MAS are commonly pre-built and stored or manufactured that way which is fine but if that system should come out of the bag tangled and a mess you need to know how to rebuild it and the only way you'll gain that knowledge is by limiting the amount of pre-rigged systems you carry.
    Training breeds confidence, expertise, and speed a good "rope guy" could build the systems talked about in under a minute. So my advice for you is to get the powers that be to understand and realize that although pre-rigging things is a great time saver lack of understanding will cost you time in the long run.
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