The world of rope rescue has come a long way in recent years, with advancements in technology and new equipment. This has resulted in an increase in the number of rope technicians who are tech-savvy and want to understand the math behind the systems they use. At the same time, there are also many technicians who have become overly reliant on videos and struggle to actually perform the techniques they watch.
- The importance of math in rope rescue: Rope rescue is a technical and mathematical discipline that requires a deep understanding of the physics behind it. By understanding the math, technicians can make better decisions and ensure the safety of their systems. In addition, this knowledge helps technicians to understand the limitations of their equipment and how to use it properly.
- The dangers of relying too heavily on videos: While videos can be a useful tool for learning, it is important to remember that they are not a substitute for hands-on experience. There is a danger in watching too many videos, as technicians may not fully understand the context in which the techniques are used. This can lead to a lack of critical thinking skills and an over-reliance on videos. This can also result in technicians asking their students to perform techniques that are not possible, putting their students at risk.
- The benefits of simple and clean systems: The key to effective rope rescue is to keep things simple and clean. A simple system is easier to understand and use, reducing the risk of error. In addition, a clean system is less likely to become tangled, making it easier to manage in an emergency situation.
In conclusion, teaching rope rescue in today’s environment requires a balance between technical knowledge and hands-on experience. It is important to understand the math behind the systems, while also recognizing the limitations of video-based learning. By keeping systems simple and clean, technicians can ensure that they are able to respond effectively in an emergency situation.
I truly enjoy getting to work alongside the many groups of people and teams I train. Just recently, I was invited to do a confined space training with an amazing crew. Upon my arrival, they showed me the two rescue systems they bought online and needed training on how to use. I could quickly see these were pre-built systems and very limited in their uses. Being the gear junkie I am, my mind was racing to all of the different gear choices that I could have set them up with; I could show them “this” and “that” and how to do the same jobs more efficiently…AND…I had to stop! We’ve all played the shoulda-coulda-woulda game, and it’s never a fun game to play. So I reassessed their gear situation, in my opinion, their gear was limited, and after some reflection, it was exactly what THEY needed.
We went to their working sites and trained for their site-specific rescue, using their gear. I learned a valuable lesson through this, which is why I’m writing about it. No one really cares how cool my last cert was or all the ninja skills I could teach them using different equipment. This rad team, just needed to know how to get the rescue done as a team, using their own equipment.
This relatively small realization was pivotal for me because I reflected on the purpose behind different teams’ training. Some teams want the latest new gadget or technique that’s going to change the game or put this team above everyone else. And let’s be honest, I eat that stuff up! I love gear, new gadgets, and I LOVE showing cool new tricks and techniques. But, that’s not what everyone needs. A team should evaluate their purpose behind the trainings, and think about what would be the best use of their resources (time, money, space, and people). Are the rescues going to be relatively simple or complex, and then I tailor the training to the teams’ needs. In the end, it is our job to make the workplace safer, and while I enjoy every aspect of rescue, sometimes a team doesn’t need the whole cookie. Just a couple bites.
You read that right, I have basically fallen in love with the Petzl ASAP. Why you might ask? It is simply one of the most versatile pieces of rescue gear on the market. It was first introduced to the Rope Access world, and due to its versatility and user-friendly design, it quickly moved into every aspect of rescue, including confined space, backcountry, and industry to name a few. Any piece of equipment that can span all the various forms of rescue immediately has my attention. Not only is this piece of gear adaptable, but it also has two different options.
Now let’s talk about safety because that’s why we’re all here! This ingenious invention has allowed teams to run safer trainings and rescues with fewer people. You need training on how to use these to their full capability, and to learn the limitations of the ASAP (just ask at your next training, we can customize part of a class using these). You will quickly see, however, that it is one of the easiest, most useful pieces of rescue gear. I have found it can take “most” of the human error out of belays. I like to refer to it as my second instructor when I’m teaching because I know this fool-proof design won’t make errors, as I’m watching the other safety dynamics such as technique and rigging during a busy class. It also passes the BCCTR Belay Competence Drop Test (as do many more products which I will discuss in later blogs) and seems to be a backcountry “must” with high lines, wenches and small teams working to make safe rescues.