1. #1
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    Fairfield's Avatar
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    Default Real world training for a new wave of climbers in the work industry

    With the explosion of Rope Access climbers flooding the everyday work field how are the fire departments evolving to handle what is not their norm? Although yes, these rope access workers have to come with their own rescue plan and have been trained to self or buddy rescue, are you training also to know whats going on? Are any instructors out there getting trained on this style of climbing and bringing it back to their schools to be placed into the course outline?

    With climbers coming into the work field that have an extensive amount of skill to reach some areas that in the past would have required scaffolding, it is important that local rescue teams take a step back and think about if they would be prepared to make a rescue in an appropriate amount of time when the time comes. The day when learning how to ascend and descend, pass a knot and have a simple understanding of high lines (that will be rarely if ever used) are fading fast. How are you adapting?

    Oh, and yes I know that 99% of the companies will not see a single rope rescue in the following year, but man it sucks when it's your turn and you don't have a good plan to roll with or the confidence that it will be done with no problem.

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    Not sure I get your point?

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    So in a more to the point way of asking. How are fire schools and or departments evolving to at height rescues that were in the past only normally seen by cavers. For example, rescuing a climber that is in an aid climb on slider clamps. Or a climber that is in the middle of their loop while doing a rebelay? Ok, the slider isn't seen in caves.

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    In my experience, for the most part, industrial rope access is very similar to the technical rescue we undertake - why change?

    "If it ain't broke, don't fix it"

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    I dont think anything is broken or should be removed from the class. I was looking to see if there was anything more being added to the Tech class.

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    Ground up rescue methods (i.e. lead climbing) don't seem to be taught in basic tech classes. Lead climbing (free and aid) for rescue seems to be typically taught in specialized classes, e.g. tower rescue.

    Even so, free climbing a communications tower on lead is not nearly as complex as aiding to access the underside of a bridge or an overhang...

    Think about a person who accessed a recess (e.g. a deep roof on a cliff or an industrial alcove) on aid and is now injured and dangling at the rear of the recess. How would one access such a patient? Possibly the same way that the patient got there, depending on the situation...

    Most fire departments don't have the time or $ to gain this capability. Even so, the rope access rescue crew should still pre-plan the rescue response in conjunction with local FD.

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    It has been a long time since I have been in a basic skills training, but are the fundamentals of ascending and descending something that isn't being taught any longer? It is a fundamental skill in the mountain SAR world.

    I agree with Servantleader. Preplanning a response and understanding what may be required in difficult access situations is invaluable. It is particularly useful to know about available resources and capabilities. It may make perfect sense for a SPRAT (or NCRC or MRA, etc. )trained resource to take the lead on making access and facilitate (fixing lines, etc.) getting other rescuers to the victim. Agency politics and pride often create issues, but calling for specialized resources early, regardless of affiliation, is often a very prudent course of action.

    Adding skills to the toolbox is always good but requires making the time and putting in the effort to keep the skills sharp - particularly with respect to high-risk/low-frequency operations. Getting specialized training is just a first step.

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