Thread: Bail-Out Bags

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    Default Bail-Out Bags

    Does anyone have any recommendations or personal experience with any bail out bags or a homemade bail out kit?

    I was wondering which one is the most reliable and you have a homemade kit that you've used or would recommend, what does it consist of?

    Thanks!

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    Default Bail-out bags

    I can't remember where we got them, but all of our SCBA's have bail-out bags on them. We've used them at drills from a second story window and they worked well. Here's a picture of the bail-out bag in use at a drill. The bag is attatched to the waist strap of the SCBA on the right.

    Last edited by NFD159; 12-24-2003 at 01:50 AM.

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    I got mine from the fire store, supposed to carry junk rope.
    I replaced the junk rope with 50' of NFPA life saftey rope, put a figure 8 on a bight on one end and have that sticking out the top of the bag. keep it inside my left pocket.
    pull the beaner out a bit, wrap and secure it back onto the rope. throw the bag out the window.. get on out.
    if its taller than 50'... at least I wont be falling the whole way.

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    NFD159,

    It's great to see that your Dept has bailout bags attached to the SCBA.

    Be very careful about where you hook your belay line during your training drills. The picture seems to show the belay hooked to the top of the SCBA backplate.

    Unless the backplate is designed for that purpose you could be in for a nasty suprise. I saw the result of a similar exercise where the firefighter bailing out was about 4 feet from the ground when he lost control and his full weight went on to the belay line. Unfortunately the belay line was attached to the top of the SCBA backplate which promptly broke. The firefighter landed on his hands and knees and suffered a Fx patella.

    Our Dept puts everyone into a rated industrial full body harness before "packing up" for the drill. Much safer and a lot more comfy if you end up on belay.

    Merry Christmas and stay safe.

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    mendotruckwork, do you use the 8MM PER rope or the 1/2 inch rescue rope?

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    I would take a close look at pacmule belts our department has 12 bels on the first 2 engines out plus several of our members ouw there own personal the things we liked about them was the personal excape ring but it also has tool rings on the side for hands free climing here is a picture of my personal setup it also has a 35'rope bag with glocord 2 beaners and a rescue mini 8 all pre rigged and and ready to go www.pacmule.com if you have any question you can contact me at chief33@butlerfire.com
    Last edited by btfcsta3; 12-24-2003 at 11:00 PM.

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    I don't prefer any sort of "truck belt" and wouldn't use it even one was issued to me. Now if I had the NFPA class III harnesses I see some FDNY firefighters have, that would be okay.

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    Originally posted by CANFF2706
    Be very careful about where you hook your belay line during your training drills. The picture seems to show the belay hooked to the top of the SCBA backplate.

    Unless the backplate is designed for that purpose you could be in for a nasty suprise. I saw the result of a similar exercise where the firefighter bailing out was about 4 feet from the ground when he lost control and his full weight went on to the belay line. Unfortunately the belay line was attached to the top of the SCBA backplate which promptly broke. The firefighter landed on his hands and knees and suffered a Fx patella.

    Our Dept puts everyone into a rated industrial full body harness before "packing up" for the drill. Much safer and a lot more comfy if you end up on belay.
    THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT!!! I agree 100%. Let's not have any stupid (read: preventable) injuries occur in TRAINING evolutions. Wear harnesses appropriate for the training activity under your SCBA!

    As far as "bailing out"... if I go in via stairs, I plan on coming out via stairs. If I go in via ladder, I plan on coming out via ladder. A mentor of mine instilled this in my head. I don't plan on rappelling like Spiderman.

    Yes, there is always the chance of something going wrong and there being a need to "bail out." But sometimes I wonder if this is because we don't think, do stupid things, and then have to resort to extreme techniques like rapelling in zero-vis and such.

    That said, don't get me wrong... I think it's important for everyone to have some "saving yourself" training. I just think we're focusing too much on how to rapell than on how to avoid situations where your last resort is rapelling.

    I used to carry rope bags and auto-locking NFPA 'biners, a pre-rigged descent device, webbing, dangling off an escape belt. Then I began wondering if it made sense. Should I be relying on this stuff, or should I be expecting pro-active safety strategies to be in place on scene? In my area, it makes more sense to me for more ladders to be thrown to points of egress, for RIT's to be operating on a scene, and for safe and sound strategies/tactics to be in place. Combined with good FF safety and survival training, these greatly reduce the need for lugging escape systems around IMHO.

    I still carry a MAST sling-link, a short length of webbing, and some 'biners. I just have a hard time buying into the whole 35'+ of rope deal.

    So I don't seem like a hypocrite here, my only point is I hope we're not letting safety and prevention fall by the wayside with the advent of bail-out kits, etc.

    For rope, it's hard to beat Sterling, made right down the road here in Maine. http://www.sterlingrope.com/ Check out their rescue RIT line selections, as seen on http://www.thefirestore.com/store/product.cfm?pID=1556

    PS - I believe FDNY's harnesses are actually Class II... the Gemtor FDNY Fire Service Harness, with right side closure.
    Last edited by Resq14; 12-25-2003 at 06:55 AM.
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    It's not NFPA approved, nor does it come with an OSHA seal of approval, but it works- and it's faster than any bail-out bag I've seen.

    Get some tubular webbing (about 35 feet), and attach a carabener to one end. This will be your anchor. Wrap the webbing under your armpits and hold the both sides in front of you (be sure to wear a coat and gloves, or else you'll get some nasty friction burns). You'll find that you can hang like this for a while, and by slowly releasing your grip, you will start to decend. This is far more controlled than just throwing a rope out a window and holding on, and far more easier than setting up a pre-made bailout system (which often decend very, very slowly). It's also pretty cheap.

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    We teach personal escape with safety precautions. The two topics tend to go hand in hand.

    Thanks for the correction on the harness, I wasn't quite sure if it was Class II or III. I've never had any good experiences with truck belts or safety belts. I prefer the harness. I'm a very particular person about when it comes to safety. I'm not a big fan of tubular webbing.

    I am in NO WAY a rope expert and I'm curious so that when I actually do get one of these kits or make one myself I know what to do with it. What's the purpose of the figure 8 descender anyways?

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    Originally posted by engine1321
    What's the purpose of the figure 8 descender anyways?
    This tells me that before you actually use a setup like this, you have to get some minimal rope training... very important. Now to your question:

    Imagine jumping out a window and sliding down a rope using only your gloved hands. You *might* be able to slow yourself down enough to prevent serious injury, but odds are you won't (still, probably better than burning/suffocating).

    Friction devices increase the amount of time it takes to cover a distance while by dispersing the energy as heat. The energy dispersed through a controlled descent is equal to the energy released if you had simply jumped out the window: it's just done over a greater period of time.

    There are all kinds of friction devices: figure 8's, rapelling racks, munter hitches, triple wrapped carabiners, pre-rigged exit devices, etc. The method described by KingHippo uses the friction of the rope against your clothed body, and was common amongst mountaineers descending scree-covered slopes.

    I maintain that if you have the time to rig one of these systems, (find an anchor point, connect to the anchor, connect to your belt/harness, etc) there is probably a better way to get out. Granted, there are some systems out there that reduce the number of connections you need to make. Whatever you end up going with, remember that it's not going to be put together in a nice classroom environment with your bare hands. It will be under a stressful situation, with PPE, heat, smoke, and obscured vision.

    I would recommend Sterling's kevlar RIT500 personal escape rope at an appropriate length for your response area, a couple large auto locking NFPA aluminum carabiners, and a pre-rigged friction device already on the rope (Petzl X-it, for instance). You don't want to worry about rigging a Figure 8 (or having it fall off when stored preassembled). You'll also need to be able to establish an anchor. This would be done with the rope around solid objects in the room, a tool angled across the corner of a window, a tool driven into the floor, etc. A short length of webbing could prove useful, in addition to its other rescue and utility uses. Tubular webbing is a valuable tool and should not be underestimated.

    I think the reality of the situation would make KingHippo's suggestion the more valid of all the options... you need to get out, and you need to get out now without rigging up carabiners, etc. Jumping out a window should be the last resort in my opinion.

    Let me repeat that I'm fully aware that there are situations where this could be the ONLY way out. However I think the time and effort spent on bail-out bags and jumping out windows could be spent on providing everyone with safety and survival training, portable radios, RIT, aggressive laddering, etc. Just my thoughts.
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    Default CANFF2706

    Be very careful about where you hook your belay line during your training drills. The picture seems to show the belay hooked to the top of the SCBA backplate
    It does look like that, but actually it's attatched to the shoulder harness straps. The person in the picture dosen't have their pack straps very tight. I think that's why it looks like its attatched to the backplate.

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    Yeah I had a hard time telling if it was the straps or the backplate.

    Regardless, for training it should not be done. Will it hold? Most likely. Is it designed for such a use? Nope, just ask Scott. Examine the connection points between the shoulder straps and the back plate. These points will be holding most of the weight as the lower body is unsupported. Even if you buckle the waist belt between your legs, you are still loading non-approved connection points on the backplate.

    In a real honest-to-God emergency, can you get away with it by considering the risks of lifting by SCBA vs. not being able to do anything else? Yes, of course.

    Remember that we have the luxury of control in TRAINING and DRILLING, and it should be exercised to prevent injuries. FF's have been killed and seriously injured doing this training... killed practicing "safety training." That makes sense... completely preventable TRAINING deaths.

    Do it right: wear Class III harnesses under SCBA for bail-out training and clip in to a safety belay line. Then you can bail to your heart's content.
    Last edited by Resq14; 12-26-2003 at 02:10 AM.
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    Forunately I know a little about ropes to have an idea how figure 8's work. I was just unsure about how they fit into the picture of bailing out with a rope. I hav a ropes class coming up in a couple months and one of our chief's is on a USAR task force so I have a pretty wide base of knowledge to draw from. Thanks!

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    My kit is homemade, I have 35 ft. of 8mm NFPA escape rope in my right bellows pocket, I took a peice of material and sewed it halfway up the inside of the pocket and attached hook and loop tape to the other side to make a flap that I can close. I then stuffed my rope into the pocket and left the figure 8 on a bight sticking out of the pocket with a self locking carabiner on it hooked to the front of my pocket. I have used it in training using other rope and it works quite well. Simply pull 'biner out of your pocket connect to anchor, and turn so that the rope goes behind your back. Grab both sections of rope and bail.
    I do agree with Resq14 though, I hope I never have to use it. I hope the knowledge, experience, and awareness will keep me or anyone on my FD from ever having to use any emergency egress methods. But I store the technique in my tool box just in case, and refresh on it at least once a year.
    Shawn M. Cecula
    Firefighter
    IACOJ Division of Fire and EMS

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    Like Lewie's setup, simple is better. Resq14 hit the nail on the head with the "time factor" and rigging on the fly in the dark, etc etc. I took a class on rope bails in San Diego last year. The Capt that taught us demostrated using the haligan as an anchor in the floor (swing it like a bat, drive the point in), wrap the rope make the loop and bail. His fastest time, from haligan to ground, 8 seconds. Damn, the only time 8 seconds is long is when you are riding a bull. Another point (rope length issue), what is the tallest building you may have to bail from? Are you going to carry that much rope? You only need enough rope to get to a point of refuge. Floor below, a lower roof.....

    Dave

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