1. #1
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    Cool A Question for those in the Rescue Field

    Hello. I have a large favor to ask of anyone willing to answer, and though I wasn’t sure where to go for information, I thought I would give this place a shot.

    I am an amateur writer working on a story involving a “rescue” situation, and I need information about what steps rescue workers would take in the following scenario.

    Note: I KNOW the situation is a bit extreme, if not totally implausible, but I have to work within rather narrow parameters. So once you stop laughing your heads off, maybe you would still be willing to offer some advice? (Besides, “Don’t give up your day job!” )

    I have two characters hanging out the window of a several story building. One is attached to a firehose, which is tied around his torso. (Yes, I know…you can start laughing now.) He is holding the other character, who is unconscious.

    When rescue workers arrive (and who would handle a situation like this anyway? Firefighters? Police? Animal Rescue?) what steps might they take to help these guys out? Would they rappel down? Would they try to pull them up? Would they use a harness or something to wrap around the unconscious individual and take him away from the other character or would they fasten them both in a harness at the same time? Etc.

    Any help would be appreciated… once you pick yourselves up off the floor, that is.

    Thank you for any replies. And a heartfelt thank you for all the work you do!

  2. #2
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    I'll give a go at it. First, how high up are they? If they are within reach of a ladder truck, this would be the obvious answer. If this were not the case, I would see if I was able to access them from a window on a lower floor that they might be near. If what you are driving at is how would somebody go about performing a rope based rescue, that requires a little more work.

    Because of the unlikely situation and the need for speed (because one person is phsysically holding another) some "unsafe" things might be called for.

    I will use the roof area for my anchor systems just to keep everything simple in this explanation. In reality a floor closer to the victims might be easier/better. Idealy, I would work this as two seperate rescues occuring simultaneously; one rescuer for each victim. The priority would be the guy being held on to. I would place him in a rescue diaper or rescue shorts. He would then be attached to the rescuer's rope system. The other rescuer could do the same thing for the guy tied up in the hose.

    If only one rescuer was available, I would still put the unconscious guy in the rescue shorts. A seperate line could be brought for the other guy and hook him up with a cinch ring to keep him from falling. This doesn't have "two points of attachment" required by NFPA, oh well. Also, it is probably easiest to lower these people because you have gravity working with you, not against you.

    In my city, this would be handled by the fire dept. We had a rescue somewhat similar to this a few months ago when a burgler measured out his rope to the window he wanted to break into and anchored it to a vent pipe on the roof. He then wrapped the end of the rope around himself a couple of times and somehow managed his way down the wall. Well, he tied himself off AFTER he measured the rope and he came up a little bit short of the window. One rescuer over the edge, victim in rescue shorts, lowered to the ground. Hope this helps.

  3. #3
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    Thumbs up Thank you!

    Dear DCFD,

    Thank you so much for taking this seriously and offering some real advice. This is for a creative writing assignment to a photo...so I am sort of stuck with the scenario I painted.

    They seem to be pretty high up, so thanks for all the alternatives. I don't think a ladder truck could reach them. If they are several stories above the ground, is lowering them still an option? About how high would you have to be before that is no longer a possibility?

    I do have another follow up question. What steps would be taken if the guy who is conscious is so freaked that he would have trouble letting go of the other guy? You know, so in that zone of holding on, that they are a bit hysterical about the thought of letting the other person go? Are firefighters trained for this kind of thing...talking people down sort of? Or would they use sedatives? Force?

    Again, thank you for your advice. This will be most helpful!

  4. #4
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    If they are several stories above the ground, is lowering them still an option? About how high would you have to be before that is no longer a possibility?
    Depends how long your rope is....

    All kidding aside, I would say that lowering them is still a viable option....Even if you can't reach the ground directly, you may be able to lower them to the next available window, and retrieve them from there....
    Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
    Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
    Paincourtville, LA

    "I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream — and I hope you don't find this too crazy — is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
    — C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"

  5. #5
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    Height is not a really big concern, ropes can be tied together and the knots passed through the lowering system with certain techniques. As for the one guy not wanting to let go, I would still proceed as before. I would just wait until both victims are rigged and then do my best to lower them simultaneously. If for some reason the guy let go, both victims would still be on rope.

  6. #6
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    Smile Thanks!

    Thank you both for your suggestions! With your input, I will be able to finish this assignment on time and hopefully come up with a half-decent story.

    Thanks again....

    Take care.

  7. #7
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    If you want to, email it to me. It'll give me some fun reading while I'm up on watch at night.

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