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    Default Current Situation of Rescue Ropes in FDNY

    Yes I SEARCHED. But after reading pages on pages of personal insults flying both ways in all different conversations I could not come up with the current situation. I have to write a proposal for a change in policy for a business written communications class. I am a volunteer firefighter from Orange County, NY and attend Manhattan College in the Bronx. We were instructed to chose a topic which is current and appeals to us. I decided I wanted to do something related to firefighting and this seems to be the most current topic with the most information available. My proposal is to have the FDNY reissue ropes and harnesses to firefighters. In my proposal I must present evidence in why I want this to happen and acknowledge the opposition and prove them wrong.

    So here is where I need help:

    During the time of Von Esson, were both harnesses and ropes provided by the department? If so, what types of each?

    At the time of Black Sunday, had the harnesses been revoked as well as the ropes?

    At this time have the harnesses been reissued to firefighters? If so, do engine companies, ladder companies, and special units have them?

    What is the main argument of the opposition of reinstating the equipment AMONG FIREFIGHTERS NOT ADMINISTRATION?

    Besides the occurences of Black Sunday (not to belittle the courage these men exerted or to minimize the ultimate sacrafice they paid) what other pushes, if any, were there to reinstate the ropes (and harnesses?)?

    Also what is the punishment for carrying personal escape rope and/or a harness if it is against department policy?
    Last edited by t13one12; 10-03-2005 at 04:36 PM.
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    Even if you don't know all the answers, some would be appreciated. Otherwise I'll just have to go find the 52's to ask them.
    9/11/01 D.C. Joseph "Uncle Joe" Marchbanks
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    Hey man. Give me a private message or an email and I'll see what I can answer for you. By the way; where are you a volly in Orange?

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    October 4, 2005 -- Firefighters will again be issued safety ropes starting today, nearly five years after the city eliminated them — and nine months after two men lost their lives jumping from a burning Bronx building, officials said yesterday. Firefighters from Harlem and The Bronx will begin training with the ropes at the FDNY Academy on Randalls Island. The $11 million plan includes equipping all the city's 11,000 firefighters with the personal ropes and harnesses over the next eight months, officials said. The nylon ropes are able to resist high-intensity heat and support a firefighter's weight. The department was criticized after six firefighters — who had been battling a ferocious blaze in The Bronx last Jan. 23 — were faced with the grim choice of either leaping from a four-story window or burning to death. Lt. Curtis Meyran, 46, and firefighter John Bellew, 37, died. The FDNY once provided ropes to firefighters, but discontinued their use in 2000 following complaints they were too heavy. The reason for the withdrawal was disputed by the Uniformed Fire Officers Association, which said the city had been trying to save money. In the wake of the Bronx blaze, Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta vowed to again provide ropes to all firefighters.
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    I'm glad to hear it was changed.

    Now on the unfortunate side I have to come up with an idea to change something in the fire service...any ideas?
    9/11/01 D.C. Joseph "Uncle Joe" Marchbanks
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    I think I might still try to sneak this one past my teacher, as long as you guys promise not to tell.
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    The new rope systems were designed largely by a team of FDNY firefighters familiar with rock climbing and metal working and frustrated with the escape systems available on the market. The new equipment features a metal hook that can grip a pipe, a wall, or a piece of furniture. The 50-foot ropes are made of bulletproof Kevlar which resists melting in intense heat for two minutes and 20 seconds. The equipment will allow firefighters to escape from a window in ten seconds. The FDNY says the ropes will cost about 11 million dollars to purchase, distribute and train the firefighters. The Fire Department stopped issuing individual ropes to firefighters in 2000, saying they were too heavy and cumbersome. But it realy was a money issue...
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    October 05, 2005 -- Nine months after two firefighters died when they were forced to jump from a burning building, the Fire Department began distributing safety ropes to its members Tuesday. Firefighters from units in the Bronx and Harlem were the first to learn how to use the ropes at the FDNY training center on Randall's Island. All firefighters are expected to complete the training within the next 9 months. In a report on the deadly fire released last month, the Fire Department was at least partially blamed for not providing firefighters with safety ropes. The ropes were phased out as standard equipment five years ago after the department decided they were too bulky and heavy. The firefighters union protested the phase-out of the safety ropes, sating the department was just out to save money.
    “We take a constructive, critical look at the event, not only at the operation but also what the department could do better," said FDNY Chief Thomas Galvin. Immediately after the tragedy in January, Fire Commissioner Maggo ordered the development of a rope system for all members. The new ropes, developed in large part by firefighters themselves, are lighter and stronger than the old ones and come with a reinforced metal hook, a 50-foot Kevlar rope, and a lowering device that can slow the firefighter’s descent.

    The FDNY tested more than 40 different rope designs and dropped out of windows at the department's training academy more than 5,000 times to find the best system. "At the end of the day, what we're providing is a last-resort escape device - this personal safety system," said Chief Galvin. The Kevlar rope resists melting at up to 1,100 degrees for more than two minutes. It takes firefighters only about 20 seconds to attach the hook onto a solid object and get out. The training sessions last about eight hours and will run twice a day, seven days a week. The FDNY expects to complete training for all firefighters in the next eight months.
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    I don't know if any of our FDNY guys have seen the new system or even tested it at the rock with the development team but here goes anyway.

    I saw briefly on the news the system in use but I could not tell how it was attached to the harness. Let's say a firefighter has to bail out of a 7th story window, his rope will get him almost to the ground (within 6 feet if there is 8 ft residential ceilings) how does he disconnect from the system. Is the rope connected to a decender or carabiner on his harness?
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    Gotta love the media

    originally found at: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/05/nyregion/05ropes.html
    the firefighters jumped through the window frames head first, then swiveled their bodies until their feet dangled toward the ground. The journey through the window looked like an awkward bit of acrobatics, and as it turns out, deliberately so
    Yeah they are definately jumping straight out the windows head first.
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    Quote Originally Posted by t13one12
    I don't know if any of our FDNY guys have seen the new system or even tested it at the rock with the development team but here goes anyway.

    I saw briefly on the news the system in use but I could not tell how it was attached to the harness. Let's say a firefighter has to bail out of a 7th story window, his rope will get him almost to the ground (within 6 feet if there is 8 ft residential ceilings) how does he disconnect from the system. Is the rope connected to a decender or carabiner on his harness?

    He doesn't have to disconnect. Atleast the firefighter is out of the dangerous area and the rope can last 2 minutes in direct flame, or even longer is the flames aren't directly on it, so you can get a ladder up to him\her. Also, the FF can stop midway down the rope and swing into a window of a safe floor, if there is one. The decender is a Petzl Gri-Gri if I'm not mistaken, and it's attached to the harness with a carabiner. I've used this device and personally, I think it is overkill for an escape system, I just go with a mini bail out figure 8, but it is a great device none the less. It features a dead-man lever system, so that if there is no user interaction, then it will stop.
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    The system they came up with is being distributed starting this week with units from the 6th and 7th divisions and soc. The system had to be as user friendly as possible, because while you may be into this fire stuff and ropes etc... the system has to be deployable in an emergency by the least trained least motivated member of the FDNY. If your looking for info, this site is probably a better choice than the option you mentioned above. The harnesses have been issued to SOC units, trucks, and will eventually be issued to all members.
    As for the last personal harnesses and ropes, the year 2000 is when the job actually collected the ropes, they stopped issuing them in the mid to late 90's. The personal harnesses also stopped being issued in the mid to late 90's at which time the job collected harnesses from engine guys and issued them (old used harnesses) to companies to be used as position harnesses, to be put on at the start of the tour and returned at the end. I like many others concerned for their own safety went out and bought my own harness and rope.

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    FDNY starts deploying new rope system

    BY WIL CRUZ
    STAFF WRITER

    October 5, 2005

    The Fire Department Tuesday began distributing and training on new safety ropes and harnesses, more than eight months after two firefighters jumped to their deaths trying to escape a Bronx blaze.

    The so-called Personal Safety System, an $11-million initiative that was researched and developed in part by firefighters, will be given to each of the department's 11,000 firefighters.

    By March, every member is expected to have received the equipment, as well as a day of training and a lecture to reinforce basic survival skills.

    Officials said the system can be deployed in 7 to 10 seconds and can support up to 5,000 pounds. The ropes, made of Technora, a Kevlar-like material, has a melting temperature of about 1,000 degrees and can hold under that heat for about four minutes, they said.

    The department began developing the new gear after the Jan. 23 Bronx fire in which Lt. Curtis Meyran, 46, and Firefighter John Bellew, 37, jumped 50 feet to their deaths when the blaze closed in on them. Four other firefighters who made the leap were injured, with two using a personal rope to break their fall.

    "Whenever the department suffers a fatal fire, we take a constructive, critical look at the event," Thomas Galvin, chief of training, said at a news conference to display the new ropes at the FDNY Training Academy on Randalls Island.

    The training and distribution of the new equipment came amid controversy. In 2000, personal ropes were pulled from service, a move union officials and senior firefighters opposed as being money-driven.

    The department, whose commissioner at the time of the recall was Thomas Von Essen, maintained that it pulled the ropes not as a cost-cutting measure but because the equipment was too bulky and cumbersome.

    "It was found out that a lot of firefighters weren't using them," said Lt. Tim Kelly of Rescue 4, who participated in the news conference.

    Whatever the reason, firefighters went some five years without the safety gear, a factor Jeannette Meyran contends led to her husband's death. Meyran, who has three children, filed a wrongful-death lawsuit last week against the city and owners of the apartment building.

    Meyran, 46, said she was not invited to Tuesday's news conference but made an appearance anyway.

    "We're a day late and a dollar short," she said, adding that her husband "wasn't happy about the ropes being taken away five years ago. People will answer for their actions and their inactions," she said.

    Despite being angry at the department, Meyran said she's glad that her husband's colleagues will have the new gear.

    "We had been pushing for this for quite a long time," she said. "I'm glad to see my husband had a legacy, and that his death made a difference."

    Meanwhile Tuesday, firefighters from the Bronx and Harlem began their training, descending five stories from three windows in a wall.

    Joe Gajewski, a firefighter of three years, said he was able to deploy the new gear in five seconds. The old gear, officials said, took 35 to 45 seconds to deploy.

    "That is remarkable," said a sweaty Gajewski, 34, of the time. "I wasn't around for the old gear, but anything is better than nothing."
    Copyright © 2005, Newsday, Inc.
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    Tangled history of firefighter ropes

    BY WILLIAM MURPHY and PETE BOWLES
    STAFF WRITERS

    October 5, 2005

    The rope itself is slender, 50 feet long, and capable, with the use of a safety harness, of holding 5,000 pounds.

    But its history is much more entangled and complex.

    Firefighters have relied on them since the days horses pulled engines and volunteers fought fires.

    As an apparent cost-cutting move, personal safety ropes were pulled from service five years ago. At least two fire chiefs and a union safety officer have said they urged then-Fire Commissioner Thomas Von Essen to keep the ropes, arguing that the recall would put lives in danger.

    The new lighter ropes introduced Tuesday -- made of the Kevlar-like material Technora -- were largely designed by a team of firefighters using their off-duty skills in rock climbing and metalworking.

    The issue of personal safety ropes attracted little attention in recent years -- until two firefighters jumped to their deaths in the Bronx on Jan. 23 to avoid encroaching flames. Neither had safety ropes, but two of the four other firefighters hurt avoided fatal injuries by using one firefighter's personal safety rope to scale the side of the burning building.

    Work on the new safety rope and harness began after the tragedy. Von Essen has said the Fire Department phased out safety ropes in the 1990s because of complaints from firefighters that they were heavy and cumbersome, and reports from his chiefs that the ropes were not safe.

    But some firefighters chose to buy their own ropes for emergencies.

    One was now-retired Firefighter Charles Bohan, the safety liaison for the Uniformed Firefighters Association who said he fought to keep the ropes.

    "I used it to get myself out of harm's way more than one time, thank goodness," he said in an interview earlier this year. "Otherwise I would have wound up in somebody's backyard."
    Copyright © 2005, Newsday, Inc.
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    Another close up.
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    A summary from NY Newsday.
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    Quote Originally Posted by t13one12

    Now on the unfortunate side I have to come up with an idea to change something in the fire service...any ideas?
    Get rid of the politics
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    Quote:
    Originally Posted by t13one12

    Now on the unfortunate side I have to come up with an idea to change something in the fire service...any ideas?

    teach truckies how not to trip over our hoses (oops... sorry wrong thread )
    Last edited by stillPSFB; 10-06-2005 at 11:38 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfTL41
    I like many others concerned for their own safety went out and bought my own harness and rope.
    Good thinking!
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    Question for the guys from FDNY or any one else that knows. What Happened to the ropes? I saw where they were pulled after a training accident. Any idea what went wrong? Operator problems or was it equipment failer?
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    The FDNY'S new $11 million safety ropes - which were pulled after one jammed and left a firefighter dangling during a test run - have been rejiggered and the new design is working, fire officials said yesterday. Fire Commissioner Magoo yanked the ropes this month when a flaw was discovered in the device firefighters use to control how fast they descend using the rope. Fire officials met with manufacturer Petzl and jointly redesigned the lowering device. So far, the new version has worked smoothly in 1,000 practice slides, officials said yesterday. The rope systems, which cost $11million to research and develop, were ordered after Lt. Curtis Meyran and Firefighter John Bellew leaped to their deaths from a window at a Jan. 23 Bronx blaze.Four other firefighters were seriously injured in the 50-foot plunge.The flaw in the ropes was uncovered during a drill Oct. 11, a week after the highly touted lifesavers debuted.The manufacturer will produce several prototypes of the revised design, which adds a U-bolt to the mechanism that feeds the rope.If the redesign passes more tests, the safety ropes will go into mass production and be issued to city firefighters starting in mid-December, officials said yesterday. The first design went through 7,500 tests before the jam occurred.
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    There was an exercise in my Survival and Rescue class where we'd come out a window headfirst,extend an arm under the first two ladder rungs and grab a hold of the third,use that as a brace and swivel around until you were upright and continue down the ladder.
    I did it and I was coming off a hurt shoulder.It was a little painful when I put weight on it but I figured if I ever did need this training,there's a good chance I'll be feeling more pain so I learned to act even if it hurt me.
    We don't have many buildings in my district that even reach 3 stories and they are mostly residential.If I can get out of the burning area and within six feet,I'd figure "That's close enough for gummint work"and,depending on what was underneath me,drop if I couldn't get any help lowering slowly to the ground.


    Quote Originally Posted by t13one12
    Gotta love the media



    Yeah they are definately jumping straight out the windows head first.

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    I did the same manuever, the headfirst ladder slide. A lot of guys were tentative about trying the various manuevers in training, but I made sure I got right in there and got practice at every one. The Firefighter Survival class is by far the best class I have taken in the fire service. Although I hope I never use the skills, they do give me confidence that I can at least try to handle the situation of bailing from a building. Obviously nothing is routine, but without taking that class I probably wouldn't know what to do should the situation arise. I always push that class hard in my department. I only have 3 years in the fire service, and I try to train as much as possible. With that said, I really stress to the older guys that it is a great class and EVERYONE should take it. Originally it was made a requirement for our FAST team but since then all members are urged to take it.
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    The FDNY has announced that all firefighters will be equipped with personal safety ropes by the middle of next year. The news comes six weeks after a round of ropes were recalled over safety concerns a week after they were distributed. Firefighters began training on the new kevlar ropes in early October at the FDNY training center on Randall's Island. But during one of those exercises, a firefighter's rope got caught in the pulley that controls the descent and began to fray, prompting the recall. Now, the fire commissioner says the mechanism that allows firefighters to descend from burning buildings has been fixed so that the rope no longer catches. Training with 2,000 new ropes will begin on December 15th and another 2,000 will be distributed on January 6th. “Six months of training for the entire department and everybody including chief officers who want the ropes can have them,” said Fire Commissioner Magoo. “It will be an individual rope assigned to each firefighter or officer." Commissioner Magoo adds that these new ropes were tested over 2,000 times.
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