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1/22/2020 12:12:56 PM
Posted: 1/16/2015 1:08:30 PM EST
My chief and I were approached by our county asking if we'd be interested in being on the now forming rope rescue and confined space team. We're all volunteers in our county and I've never done any of this. What am i in for and what does in entail? The training is 3 days with some rappelling on the last day.
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 1:11:54 PM EST
[Last Edit: 1/16/2015 1:14:01 PM EST by Chromekilla]
Originally Posted By stutzcattle:
My chief and I were approached by our county asking if we'd be interested in being on the now forming rope rescue and confined space team. We're all volunteers in our county and I've never done any of this. What am i in for and what does in entail? The training is 3 days with some rappelling on the last day.
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Learning lots of knots primarily.

Overall was a fun and useful class. My favorite part was probably learning belaying, or how to stabilize cars that went off the road, for patient extrication. I'd go for it if you are reasonably comfortable with being on a rope/up high.
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 1:33:00 PM EST
3 days of training? I'd say not much.

I do 5 days rope and 5 days confined space annually and don't feel like any sort of expert.

The classroom portion for confined space is horribly boring. Ropes are a lot more interesting and most of the vertical haul systems for ropes can be adapted to confined space for horizontal work also.

If you are ok with knots, heights and well, confined spaces, I'd try it. It's not likely you will ever need the skill set more than a few times in any type of time critical situation.

Be sure to make sure your carabiners are not side loaded, or when they straighten out when you're on rope you will get the harness stuck between your now clenched cheeks
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 1:38:08 PM EST
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Originally Posted By FFMedic:
3 days of training? I'd say not much.

I do 5 days rope and 5 days confined space annually and don't feel like any sort of expert.

The classroom portion for confined space is horribly boring. Ropes are a lot more interesting and most of the vertical haul systems for ropes can be adapted to confined space for horizontal work also.

If you are ok with knots, heights and well, confined spaces, I'd try it. It's not likely you will ever need the skill set more than a few times in any type of time critical situation.

Be sure to make sure your carabiners are not side loaded, or when they straighten out when you're on rope you will get the harness stuck between your now clenched cheeks
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I've been with the dept for 13 years and it's pretty rare that we even walk up a set of stairs, let alone need ropes.

I think there was some state fire marshall funds that needed to be spent. I have absolutely zero experience with rope rescue. I've wanted to take the class at our annual fire school, but I always need con ed hrs for my emt cert.
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 1:42:56 PM EST
3 days is nowhere near enough.
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 1:45:25 PM EST
[Last Edit: 1/16/2015 1:46:02 PM EST by SmilingBandit]
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Originally Posted By stutzcattle:
I've been with the dept for 13 years and it's pretty rare that we even walk up a set of stairs, let alone need ropes.

I think there was some state fire marshall funds that needed to be spent. I have absolutely zero experience with rope rescue. I've wanted to take the class at our annual fire school, but I always need con ed hrs for my emt cert.
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Ask your chief if it's something that your department really wants to do long term. In order to keep it up you need to practice, have a way to fund replacements as folks leave, and replace gear as it reaches the end of its service life.

IMHO it's kind of like starting a dive team. A great idea until you really understand what it means.
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 1:56:45 PM EST
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Originally Posted By SmilingBandit:


Ask your chief if it's something that your department really wants to do long term. In order to keep it up you need to practice, have a way to fund replacements as folks leave, and replace gear as it reaches the end of its service life.

IMHO it's kind of like starting a dive team. A great idea until you really understand what it means.
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Originally Posted By SmilingBandit:
Originally Posted By stutzcattle:
I've been with the dept for 13 years and it's pretty rare that we even walk up a set of stairs, let alone need ropes.

I think there was some state fire marshall funds that needed to be spent. I have absolutely zero experience with rope rescue. I've wanted to take the class at our annual fire school, but I always need con ed hrs for my emt cert.


Ask your chief if it's something that your department really wants to do long term. In order to keep it up you need to practice, have a way to fund replacements as folks leave, and replace gear as it reaches the end of its service life.

IMHO it's kind of like starting a dive team. A great idea until you really understand what it means.


This is why we've never done it. We can't get people to show up for any training. It'll be worse when the coolness wears off. This is a county rescue team. They're asking for 2 guys from each dept. If you're at all familiar with vol depts, I'm sure you know that guys will show up for the training at first and then get busy and quit showing up. My chief just texted me and he got the number of days wrong. It's 8 days of training. I doubt that it's all day long. My guess is 4 hrs a day if it's like anything else we do.
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 1:58:44 PM EST
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Originally Posted By stutzcattle:
This is why we've never done it. We can't get people to show up for any training. It'll be worse when the coolness wears off. This is a county rescue team. They're asking for 2 guys from each dept. If you're at all familiar with vol depts, I'm sure you know that guys will show up for the training at first and then get busy and quit showing up. My chief just texted me and he got the number of days wrong. It's 8 days of training. I doubt that it's all day long. My guess is 4 hrs a day if it's like anything else we do.
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I never played on our rope team. I can deal with heights when I have to but choose to avoid them if I can.

If you want I can get you in touch with one of our guys that did rope team stuff back in the volunteer days.
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 2:00:06 PM EST
I trained for high angle rescue and confined space, took about 7 full days. It was run by Michigan State University.

About 50/50 classroom to on site training. They use primarily figure-8, prusik, and water knots, and instruct you how to make and untie them. We use a funky belay device designed by one of their own team members.

Link Posted: 1/16/2015 2:05:32 PM EST
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Originally Posted By FFMedic:
3 days of training? I'd say not much.

I do 5 days rope and 5 days confined space annually and don't feel like any sort of expert.

The classroom portion for confined space is horribly boring. Ropes are a lot more interesting and most of the vertical haul systems for ropes can be adapted to confined space for horizontal work also.

If you are ok with knots, heights and well, confined spaces, I'd try it. It's not likely you will ever need the skill set more than a few times in any type of time critical situation.

Be sure to make sure your carabiners are not side loaded, or when they straighten out when you're on rope you will get the harness stuck between your now clenched cheeks
View Quote


^^This.

Also, these are skills that deteriorate rapidly if not used/practiced frequently. Significant up front cost in gear, plus ongoing maintenance and training costs.

I've found it to be interesting and challenging. But, if my employer outsourced it, I wouldn't care.
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 11:16:26 PM EST
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Originally Posted By fishsticks:


^^This.

Also, these are skills that deteriorate rapidly if not used/practiced frequently. Significant up front cost in gear, plus ongoing maintenance and training costs.

I've found it to be interesting and challenging. But, if my employer outsourced it, I wouldn't care.
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Originally Posted By fishsticks:
Originally Posted By FFMedic:
3 days of training? I'd say not much.

I do 5 days rope and 5 days confined space annually and don't feel like any sort of expert.

The classroom portion for confined space is horribly boring. Ropes are a lot more interesting and most of the vertical haul systems for ropes can be adapted to confined space for horizontal work also.

If you are ok with knots, heights and well, confined spaces, I'd try it. It's not likely you will ever need the skill set more than a few times in any type of time critical situation.

Be sure to make sure your carabiners are not side loaded, or when they straighten out when you're on rope you will get the harness stuck between your now clenched cheeks


^^This.

Also, these are skills that deteriorate rapidly if not used/practiced frequently. Significant up front cost in gear, plus ongoing maintenance and training costs.

I've found it to be interesting and challenging. But, if my employer outsourced it, I wouldn't care.

I'm pretty sure the only reason they're wanting this is because it's a precursor to confined space. There are a lot of grain bins here.
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 11:39:10 PM EST
Have done confined space, and rope rescue. Absolutely love it! Wish I could do it more. I am a large guy though, 6'7'' and 225, so most confined spaces are easily handled by guys smaller than me. Just gotta learn to twist up! PM me any specific questions you have and I'll do my best to answer them. It can be a costly endeavor to establish a team and keep it running.
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 11:50:14 PM EST
[Last Edit: 1/16/2015 11:50:42 PM EST by TNBayou]
You'll learn basic anchors, rapelling and belaying. Possibly some raising and lowering of a victim. Essentially operations level stuff, not rope rescue technician. Should also learn how to build a z rig or 3 to 1 system.
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 11:53:02 PM EST
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Originally Posted By lockedandloaded:
I trained for high angle rescue and confined space, took about 7 full days. It was run by Michigan State University.

About 50/50 classroom to on site training. They use primarily figure-8, prusik, and water knots, and instruct you how to make and untie them. We use a funky belay device designed by one of their own team members.

http://oi62.tinypic.com/2dgm4gx.jpg
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MPD is the tits

We're in the process of switching to them.

Link Posted: 1/16/2015 11:58:35 PM EST
I did a lot of it in the 90's, my initial Rope rescue classes were three one week long classes, the first one taught you how to save yourself, ( Firefighter bailouts), the Second how to save other people, ( rigging, lifting , hoisting, lowering, and all that). The third got you over your fear of heights. .

I then went on to confined space, trench rescue, and was part of the team. ( we're Career)

But as stated, rope is a perishable skill. If you don't practice it on a regular basis( like every month or two minimum), the skills degrade and go away. Trying to remember the knots you tied in a class two years ago and how to make a Z-rig after building one in a class with a team , once, sucks, especially when you are under duress and everybody's yelling and in a hurry.

Starting up a team is a major commitment, done right, in both manpower, classes, and equipment.

I am glad I did it though, lots of skills, and a huge confidence builder.

By the end of the first bailout class, we were crawling up the 4 story drill tower, tying off a bail out rig to an improvised anchor, finding a window and diving out head first, all while on air wearing a blacked out SCBA mask.

Confidence.
Link Posted: 1/17/2015 12:01:59 AM EST
[Last Edit: 1/17/2015 12:02:42 AM EST by Mattyvac]
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Originally Posted By PR361:
I did a lot of it in the 90's, my initial Rope rescue classes were three one week long classes, the first one taught you how to save yourself, ( Firefighter bailouts), the Second how to save other people, ( rigging, lifting , hoisting, lowering, and all that). The third got you over your fear of heights. .

I then went on to confined space, trench rescue, and was part of the team. ( we're Career)

But as stated, rope is a perishable skill. If you don't practice it on a regular basis( like every month or two minimum), the skills degrade and go away. Trying to remember the knots you tied in a class two years ago and how to make a Z-rig after building one in a class with a team , once, sucks, especially when you are under duress and everybody's yelling and in a hurry.

Starting up a team is a major commitment, done right, in both manpower, classes, and equipment.

I am glad I did it though, lots of skills, and a huge confidence builder.

By the end of the first bailout class, we were crawling up the 4 story drill tower, tying off a bail out rig to an improvised anchor, finding a window and diving out head first, all while on air wearing a blacked out SCBA mask.

Confidence.
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THIS. Knots that you don't tie weekly and roping that you don't do at least monthly will QUICKLY fade from memory.

One day, hopefully, I can save someone with a uni or uni-to-uni knot I use for fly fishing....
Link Posted: 1/17/2015 12:07:21 AM EST
Old school tag
Link Posted: 1/17/2015 12:12:53 AM EST
Ropes class is fun, but there is a hell of a difference between getting some certs and maintaining a team.

Years ago I went through most of the Operations level classes - rope 1/2, veh ex 1/2, school bus ex, heavy veh ex, confined space, collapse, trench, swift water, ice, etc.

We had a team in my Dept and were dedicated to training consistently. At the end of the day, the certs mean squat. Any skill you don't continually exercise will be lost...and then you are just dangerous since you think you know what you are doing. We had Techs for most skills on the team, but it took a ton of time. I stuck with it for a couple of years, but eventually dropped off due to the time required (in addition to shifts, other FF/EMS training). That said, I wouldn't be too excited about being on a team that didn't train constantly.
Link Posted: 1/17/2015 12:56:57 AM EST
I did some informal training and decided that I was much happier being a chickenshit with both feet on the ground than a superhero with two legs dangling in the air.

You need to be able to tie a bowline one-handed without looking. You need your knots and your knowledge of redundant gear and lines. You need to be an anal retentive asshole about rope and metal because when that stuff hits the end of its useful life, it gets destroyed. You need to use it often because practice is proficiency and you need a budget that will allow you to replace it.

"Some rappelling on the last day," is not good enough. All that will accomplish is to give you a taste of what it feels like and what you have to master. If it's for you, you can meet some very cool people and do some very cool things playing with carabiners.

DON'T SKIMP. The fifty bucks in your wallet that you saved on gear will just make you fall faster.

I avoided confined space training and I don't regret it. We had 3,000 gallon nitric acid tanks at one place where I worked and the engineers had to have confined space certification and follow all the protocols every time something had to be serviced in one of the tanks. They recertified every year and typically entered the tanks semi-annually, but they were engineers and the whole system was their responsibility. The head of the plant was also certified, though he didn't do the actual work. The two engineers expected that if there was ever a problem, they would be dead before the fire department could get there and rescue them.

This was a nice, innocuous warehouse looking thing in the wealthy and densely populated town of Delray Beach, Florida. Aside from the NFPA placards on the building, you'd never know that we had 6,000 or so gallons of nitric acid waiting to murder you if something went wrong.

My current employer is in tornado country and has an ammonia based refrigeration system. I honestly thought about quitting during the initial training when they told us the procedures for that.

The difference between volunteer firefighters and engineers who know they will die if something goes wrong in the confined space is that the engineers spent forty hours a week with the nitric acid system and understood it. Speaking as a former volunteer, I had other things to do. My understanding of the hazardous materials and confined spaces in town was limited by my need to earn a living elsewhere and have a life.

This is another one that, if you're going to do it as a volunteer, you need to drill a lot. Fortunately, the haz-mat places in your AO should have a much more sophisticated understanding of their dangers than they did in my day. They should be willing to work with you on their particular systems. I read somewhere that railroad boxcars are good for this because they have a hatch on top that's totally inadequate for rescue. You can put piles of stuff inside to disorient your rescuers and if somebody freaks out, you can open the side door and go get him. All you need now is a train.

Good luck and IMO, the best thing you can do is be the guy that everybody hates when he designs the drills. You'll save lives that way. See: Rick Rescorla.
Link Posted: 1/17/2015 1:45:34 AM EST
I don't do it the ladder lackey's do the rope stuff.

I think they do three one week long classes, then lots of drills and training.

Initial Training is the cheap part, you need to inspect and keep records on each piece of rope, webbing, and hardware. Then you need all of the on going training also.


HM does the confined space, air monitoring equipment, escape air bottles, bunches of training.

Unless someone is paying for the training both initial and for at least five years more, AND equipment. I would say avoid it unless there is a real need.

We have about 225 uniformed fire personnel, then about 30 civilians. We only have one confined space rescue every couple of years and only a few rope rescues each year.

YMMV
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