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Thread: Preferred method for pick-off

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    Default Preferred method for pick-off

    This is for sure a back to basics question, but at the same time something that should be bread and butter for the rescue company. What is you preferred method of a pick-off rescue? Taking the question a bit further to make for good conversation, I would like to hear the methods for a few different directions.

    1) Ascent to victim on same lines and picking off the vic from his/her descent.
    2) Same lines ascent picking off victim from ascent.
    3) (this is more detailed) Where does each of your connection points go to on the vic, and in what orientation? I ask this due to attention to detail being something that is not fully always given enough attention when it comes to smaller things.

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    By accent on same line, are you accending the victims own line? Never have done this. Interested.
    ~Drew
    Firefighter/EMT/Technical Rescue
    USAR TF Rescue Specialist

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    yes, ascending the victim's lines (of course saying that they are safe to do do). Think of it as going up to get one of your own guys down do to him/her becoming a second victim for what ever reason. You know the lines are safe, so why setup more lines. If you are going to to it, how do you think you would go about it?

    I know there is a bit of differences with how each company or team goes about setting up their climbing lines. Some may have a backup line directly connected into the rescue climber (with the end of the rope) so another climber from the ground may not have a backup to connect into to ascend up with. Although it is something to think about for those who do this. You are taking an option off the table each time you do this, and forcing your self to have to setup two more lines.

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    Typically in both scenarios I try to use the waist connection for main line connection and the sternal for back up.

    In either case, obviously assessing the victim, their equipment and gear, what has happened and what can you use of the victims.

    For the rescue ascent, try to ascertain which lines are the victims descent / ascent and back up lines. Then place your ascent on the victim backup and your backup on their descent / ascent.

    If the victim is in ascent we need to unweight the victim to remove them from their ascenders. Whatever is the easiest to lift, but would prefer to descend with them connected to their waist. Also, you may need more than one backup device to accomplish this if you need to pass the victim.

    If the victim is in descent and their descender is functioning, may use that to get them weighted on our descender using a short rescue runner.

    Really as long as there are always two points of connection for each of you, whatever way works safely is a good way. These types of pickoffs are part of the certification process for various SPRAT levels, with a victim in descent and rescuer ascending all part of the basic Level 1.

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    What is your plan for what you will do if your descender fails/brakes during descent with the victim?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fairfield View Post
    This is for sure a back to basics question, but at the same time something that should be bread and butter for the rescue company. What is you preferred method of a pick-off rescue?
    This is fairly easy in my environment (industrial fall protection). The victim has fallen and had the fall arrested by their PPE. #1 - Are they injured? #2 - Can they be reached by portable ladder or manlift? If not, can they assist in their rescue?

    #3 - Establish verbal contact with them if they are uninjured and have them move their legs to reduce the chance of suspension trauma.

    #4 - If they can assist, access their anchor point and send them a main line and belay line and have them hook them to their harness rear connection. (Most fall arrest harnesses only have a dorsal ring for attachment.)

    #5 - If they can't assist, access their anchor point and triple wrap a prusik cord around their fall arrest lanyard. (It grips just fine).

    #6 - If you have an extendable pole with a remote retrieval hook, attach a line to the harness connection.

    #7 - Raise the victim high enough to release his lanyard from the anchor point, attach a belay line to it and either raise or lower him to safety.

    #8 - If absolutely necessary, based on observed injuries, lower a rescuer to the victim to perform patient care. Given that the maximum distance the victim will be from the anchor point is about 20 feet a 4:1 block and tackle works just fine.

    Quick, easy and safe and nobody has to go over the side
    Last edited by rsqman; 11-11-2013 at 05:04 PM. Reason: Not complete

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    If the descender or main line fails, you and the victim are still on the safety line, attached with a backup device such as the ASAP or Kong backup etc. depending on rope diameter.

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    Use the descender that the victim was using prior to you picking him off.
    Fairfield likes this.
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    Rescue 2, There is a few ways of going about this when your descender fails. How are you going to (with the victim on you) transfer over to the new descender on the old (now new main) backup line. Now you have dead weight.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fairfield View Post
    Rescue 2, There is a few ways of going about this when your descender fails. How are you going to (with the victim on you) transfer over to the new descender on the old (now new main) backup line. Now you have dead weight.
    Switch lines again using the acquired descender, leaving victim attached to the broken descender and perform what amounts to a rescue from ascent.
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    But if you have picked the victim already and you are descending when the descender brakes, you would be connected to the descender and the vic is connected to you not the descender. So yes move to the backup line for a main line but you will be doing it with dead weight attached. Not that it is a bad thing (not fun but not bad), but how would you think through it?

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    Had this happen to me, just looking to see some thoughts. Not by any means trying to reach for unrealistic circumstances. Also not thinking how I got through it was perfect either, but I also never had anyone make me think of it happening to me so I had never trained for it. Now I know though.....

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    If you know you are going to perform a rescue like this you typically put an extra carabiner between you and you're descent device (with the victim's sling attached to the biner the device is on) so that you can remove yourself from the system should you need to. The victim will still be hanging on the failed device.
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    I follow your thought there. you would just be placing the victims backup back on the other line and re going at the whole thing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fairfield View Post
    I follow your thought there. you would just be placing the victims backup back on the other line and re going at the whole thing.
    Correct. Also, what was the descender you were using and what was caused it to fail?
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    It was a RIG, and the gear was stripped out of it. It did not cause a shock load into the backup. It just locked out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fairfield View Post
    But if you have picked the victim already and you are descending when the descender brakes, you would be connected to the descender and the vic is connected to you not the descender. So yes move to the backup line for a main line but you will be doing it with dead weight attached. Not that it is a bad thing (not fun but not bad), but how would you think through it?
    Ideally, don't rig yourself and the victim to the descender in series. Keep yourself and the victim in parallel. Even if you're both attached to the same locking carabiner on the descender, you can still open it, so as to climb the rope (without the victim's weight) to a point above and reconfigure something else.

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    ...and having a super Munter in your cranial tool box as a option is a good thing for 2-person descent control.

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    Eric makes a key point re: attaching for escape from the system if necessary. Trying to manage the move with the victim's weight hanging fully or partially off of the rescuers is not trivial.

    The ability to switch over to a super Munter or similar minimal gear mode is a key skill for the toolbox.

    We train in both these areas and typically use one of our heavier members as "the load" in the escape-the-system scenario. Technique and rigging for escape skills are hi-lited since it usually isn't possible to use brute strength to solve the problem.

    Just curious re: the RIG. Have you seen locking due to load issues and characteristics of the rope? It always seems that regardless of device, performance can vary based on the rope in higher load situations, i.e., it is easier to get things locked up.
    Last edited by MtnRsq; 11-15-2013 at 02:00 PM. Reason: fix some wording

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