Thread: Aerial rescue

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    Default Aerial rescue

    We have an evolution where we use our aerial to remove patients from balconies, excavations, etc. Here is how it works: a bag of 5/8" rope is placed on the turntable. The end of the rope is walked out to the tip of the aerial.(not to the very end but to the end of the structural part of the aerial) It is then passed over a wheel, which is attached to the rungs of the ladder, and down to the stretcher on the ground, where it is tied in to the stretcher bridle. Back at the turn table, a carabiner is attached to the lowest rung and the rope is attached with a munter hitch. As the ladder is extended, the stretcher is pulled up to the tip which is the reason for the munter. One firefighter operates the munter while the other operates the aerial to place the empty stretcher in the area where the patient is. Once the patient is loaded, the munter is locked off and the rescue is performed by the aerial operator.

    My first question is, do any of you use your aerial for a similar function? Secondly, have any of you stopped using an evolution like this for safety reasons.

    I have a few concerns with this evolution. Firstly, only a single rope is used which violates every rule in the book. All it would take is for the stretcher to become caught on something and the force of the aerial would snap the rope with little effort. I also understood that the use of powered mechanical devices for rope rescue was a no no. Puting a second rope in is an easy fix. The second problem is a patient abandonment issue. From the time the patient is picked up until he/she is placed on the ground, patient care is terminated. This is a huge concern in the pre-hospital care field. The suggested solution to this issue would be to send an attendant with the stretcher but there is a problem there too. The dry tip safe working load for the aerial is 550lbs. NFPA uses a 600lb SWL for two person rescue loads. Sure it is only 50lbs difference but that is all a lawer needs to nail you to the wall. The third issue deals with the potential force placed on the tip of the aerial. Break out your trigonometry and physics books people. Whenever you run a rope through a redirect, there is a potential for the redirect to receive up to 2 times the force of what is at the end of the rope. There is an equation to calculate exactly how much force is goin to the redirect: 2(cosine of 1/2 angle). If you take the inside angle of the rope and cut it in half, then get the cosine of that and multiply that result by 2 you will have the force multiplication factor. Simply multiply the load by this number to get the force at the redirect. Example: Aerial is at 60 degrees with a 300lb static load on the end of the rope. The inside angle of the rope is determined by making all the angle add up to 180. We know we have a 90 degree angle formed by the rope and the ground and a 60 degree angle formed by the ladder. This means the inside angle of the rope is 30 degrees. 2(cosine15)=1.93; 300lbs x 1.93 = 579lbs . Even with a single person load we are placing more force on the tip of the aerial than the manufacturer(smeal) reccomends. OK, that the end of the physics, I promise!

    I have written up a letter to submit to the apparatus and equipment committee but wanted to hear from other people about this type of evolution before I send it in.
    Sometimes, in order to make an operation idiot proof, you must remove the idiot!

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    YIKES! Good thing I'm moving soon and won't have to worry about ever having to use this service you so eloquently speak of - sounds pretty wild ... you want me to get in WHAT? and go WHERE?

    Reference my Santa post in the FDNY schedule thread LMFAO!

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    ok, here's my opinion.....First off, I don't see this kind of setup needed for a balcony rescue; just put the tip at the balcony rail and have a firefighter assist the victim onto and down the ladder. (unless there's some scenario I'm just not thinking of.) Second, if it's a trench rescue, for example, I can see using the ladder as an anchor point for the safety line, but not for raising the patient out. I believe it's just to much of a risk for their safety. I'd rather take a couple of extra minutes to carry them out and be right beside them "just in case" something happens than to send them up into the wild blue yonder with no-one to know if they were ok until back on the ground.

    "Better safe than sorry" as the saying goes.
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    Firstly, only a single rope is used which violates every rule in the book. All it would take is for the stretcher to become caught on something and the force of the aerial would snap the rope with little effort. I also understood that the use of powered mechanical devices for rope rescue was a no no.
    Agreed - to both points - a second rope or safety line should always be used whenever possible. I add the whenever possible because in some rope rescue situations adding a second line actually makes the system MORE dangerous. The only obvious one that comes to mind right away is any hoist or short haul into/by a helo, but there are bound to be others due to the wide and dynamic nature of rope rescue.

    Also the use of the aerial itself as the "muscle" in the lifting system is a MAJOR No-No (for several reasons - some of which you mention throughout your post)

    The second problem is a patient abandonment issue. From the time the patient is picked up until he/she is placed on the ground, patient care is terminated. This is a huge concern in the pre-hospital care field.
    IMHO - I don't see this as a big issue. Hauling a victim out of an area w/o a medical attendant is a pretty standard & accepted practice (under certain conditions) and even if you WERE ever to get a lawsuit on the grounds of abandonment, I feel pretty safe that you could justify the actions based on safety issues.

    I hate to skip ahead, but let's take your 3rd issue as an example - if the Anchor to your hoist system (in this case - the aerial ladder) can only hold 500 Lbs - there is NO WAY you can haul out a victim in a stokes AND an attendant while maintaining a proper margin of safety.

    Also - the vast majority of confined space rescue will prevent any real type of direct Pt. care by an attendant.

    The third issue deals with the potential force placed on the tip of the aerial.
    This too is a biggie to watch out for when using an aerial device as your high point in a lifting / lowering system.

    1) The vast majority of aerials were/are not designed to take the type of dynamic (shock) loads that a rope system can place on them.

    2) As you mentioned - a rope system can quickly & easily place forces on anchor points that far exceed that of the initial load.

    Would this factor preclude me from using an aerial as my high anchor point? Not if it was all that I had to use, but before I would advocate such things I would state that the rescuer(s) and ESPECIALLY the riggers should have a very good understanding of the forces the system will create & the limitations of the aerial in use.

    Bottom Line - Cliff Notes version:
    Aerial as a high point ONLY as a last resort and ONLY with experienced & knowledgeable riggers. And NEVER use the aerial as your "muscle", all human loads should be hauled by people power.
    Take Care - Stay Safe - God Bless
    Stephen
    FF/Paramedic
    Instructor

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    This evolution is typically used for removing an immobilized patient from an apartment building where the stair access is very limited and there is no elevator. It is often a very heavy patient which would present great difficulty in bringing him/her down the stairs. Another common scenario is a construction worker who has fallen into a basement while constructing a house. He would also be fully immobilized.

    The people doing this are the aerial operator and the Lt. They have no rope training aside from practicing this very evolution a couple times. I don't feel they have anywhere near the expertise to be overseeing an operation like this.
    Sometimes, in order to make an operation idiot proof, you must remove the idiot!

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    Thumbs down The Crux of the Problem.........

    Originally posted by resqtek


    The people doing this are the aerial operator and the Lt. They have no rope training aside from practicing this very evolution a couple times. I don't feel they have anywhere near the expertise to be overseeing an operation like this.

    Here is your biggest liability, by far, I hate the mention of lawyers in our business, and I generally subscribe to Admiral David Farragut's theory of risk management, "Damn the Torpedos....." BUT, having said that, using untrained people to perform complex evolutions such as this is a huge invitation to a lawsuit. I have a bit of expertise in this field, and I agree totally with Stephen from Virginia on his views of this situation. To go a few steps further, in different directions, Here's what I would recommend for your organization. 1. Establish a Special Operations Team. (or whatever you wish to call them) 2. Train, Train, Train. You MUST know what you are doing, You MUST be proficient at it, and, You MUST maintain documentation to back up your claims of expertise. OSHA is NOT a small town in Wisconsin, as I used to believe. 3. You have done a good job, so far, on researching your Apparatus and equipment limitations. I'm sure you are not able to rush right out and purchase another Ladder truck, so you will have to modify your operations to suit the resources at hand. I understand fully that you are not the person in charge. I would think that all you can do is try your best to get all concerned to sit down and work these problems out BEFORE someone gets hurt. In my opinion, you have covered your butt very well by identifying a problem and looking for a solution. That you may not have the authority to direct a solution, does not create a problem on your part. Although no one likes to do it, you will have the right to say "I told you so" knowing that you did what you could to prevent a problem in the first place. I wish you luck, and if I can help in any way, PM/email me. I am a member of a Special Operations Team, and a National Pro Board Certified Instructor III, specializing in Rescue. Stay Safe....
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    Interesting timing on your thread resqtek ... I see there was an aerial rescue this morning.
    September 11th - Never Forget

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    I am a rope rescue instructor for the department. We have a very well trained team that can do anything like tower rescue, slope rescue, crane rescue, rescue from hi-rises, and industrial rescue. I would like to see us called to deal with these situations. There is, of course, the concern that there are 13 aerials situated around the city and only two locations in the city where rope rescue specialists are housed. I have submitted my letter of concern and am going to the academy shortly do prepare for an upcoming course. Hopefully I will have a chance to sit down with the people in charge of the aerials at that time.
    Sometimes, in order to make an operation idiot proof, you must remove the idiot!

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    If you have the teams, they need to be called. This evolution should not be performed this way other than in an emergency situation.
    That said. I would access the balconey from the ladder, package patient, find anchor point within the building, lower the patient with a rack. Also your point about the saftey(2nd line) is well taken.
    If this were an "excavation" senerio everything changes. I might use the ladder as a high point anchor. There are now many more factors to consider when trying to accomplish this type of rescue.
    It seems to me your if you have 2 trained teams and the equipment, then your best argument with the bosses is to have the teams sent to any tech rescue.
    Stay Safe
    B Holmes

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