Bail out safety line
Our department has purchased new bail out systems. I have done bail out training before and set up a tandem prusik belay for a safety. This time a neighboring department lent us their Falcon self retracting lifeline(google it). Quick and easy to use. Even though the device has a high enough rating and is designed for falls, I have some concerns since it is designed for construction work and not training. My other concern is that another group performed the training using a figure 8 as a belay. What are the acceptable systems to use as a belay when conducting bail out training?
I would check with your state and possibly your town. I do not know what state you live in but here in NY a munter belay is acceptable, or the Petzl ID2. I suppose an 8 plate would be acceptable as long as you can run the rope through it in both directions adequately. The 8 plate should be a rescue rated 8 and not one rated for single person loads. The reasoning behind this is the shock loading on the general use 8 with all of the gear on may be too much. For cost purposes I use the munter through a high change of direction.
We had a Train the Trainer course here in the state to enable us to provide the training and comply with the rope law in NYS.
The biggest concern would be who is running the belay. A TPB may not give you enough reaction time depending on who is minding it. Make sure that an instructor is minding the belay and is competent to do so. A munter belay will work. We used a gri-gri when I took the EXO instructor class, it is very fast to react. The figure eight is no worse than a munter if you know how to "walk to rope". The biggest issue is that most of the heights are very minimal and if someone falls, you may not have enough distance to react.
I agree with JB. Take a proper firefighter escape systems training that includes how to belay. It is easy to catch someone who is 5 stories up, it is another thing to catch someone who is only 12' off the ground.
We also use the Gri-Gri in all of our classes (teach about 8 different manufactured systems) and have shown why other methods are not great. Many "Rope Rescue" people who believe they know how to operate a TPB are often doing it improperly, especially when dealing with such short reaction times.