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Presented By: Joseph R. LaPlant Shady Valley Fire Prot. Dist. Basic Haul Systems. Rope Rescue For. First Reponders. Course Objectives. Understand and use rope rescue terminology and equipment Be able to list many uses of rope and rope hardware

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Basic Haul Systems

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Basic haul systems

Presented By:

Joseph R. LaPlant

Shady Valley Fire Prot. Dist.

Basic Haul Systems

Rope Rescue For

First Reponders

Course objectives

Course Objectives

  • Understand and use rope rescue terminology and equipment

  • Be able to list many uses of rope and rope hardware

  • Be able to recognize and list all safety considerations associated with rope rescue operations

Course objectives1

Course Objectives

  • Recognize and list all components of a haul system

  • Be able to describe and calculate mechanical advantage

  • Be able to describe proper basic maintenance and care of rope and rope equipment 

Course objectives2

Course Objectives

  • Be able to describe and tie basic life safety knots

  • Perform a rescue operation utilizing a rope rescue haul system

    - Minimum score of 70% is required on written exam

    - 100% of all critical on performance checklist must be achieved for successful course completion.

Haul systems

Haul Systems

Simple or compound rope systems, labeled by mechanical advantage, used to forcibly pull or haul an object over certain distance

Haul systems1

Haul Systems

Consist of

  • Static Kern Mantle rope

  • an anchor point

  • pulleys

  • carabiners

  • rope grabs (prusiks or cams)

    Must utilize at least ½ inch static kern mantle rope meeting NFPA 1983 specifications.

Nfpa 1983

NFPA 1983

The standard for life safety rope and safe working loads.

  • Single person working load: 300 lbs.

  • Two person working load: 600 lbs.

  • Rope rescue should always utilize a 15:1 safety ratio (load x 15)

  • Two person working load:

    (600 x 15 = 9000 lbs)

Rope construction

Rope Construction

Laid Rope

  • Made of multiple strands of naturally occurring fibers

  • Fibers are five to 14 ft in length

  • Fibers are twisted together to form a single length

  • Examples: hemp and manila

Basic haul systems

Rope Construction

Braided Rope

  • Cotton fiber ropes

  • Constructed by braiding fibers together

  • Strands are braided into a single length of rope

  • Examples: sailing rope

Basic haul systems

Rope Construction


  • Cotton fiber ropes

  • Constructed using a hollow core, cotton construction

  • Braid-on-braid ropes are usually used in marine applications

Basic haul systems

Rope Construction


  • The Kern, is a high strength inner core constructed of a continuous synthetic material which runs the entire length of the rope.

  • The Mantle, is a braided outer cover or sheath that protects the kern from cuts and abrasions.

  • The core of kernmantle rope makes up to 75% of the rope overall length.

Basic haul systems

Static vs. Dynamic

Kernmantle is made of parallel filaments or filaments spiraled into cords

  • Dynamic – stretches 20% to 40% of its length when under a load.

  • Static – stretches only 2% to 3% its length when under a load.

Basic haul systems

Types of Rope

  • Utility Rope – Any rope used for applications other than life safety.

  • Water Rescue Rope – made of polypropylene, water rescue ropes cannot be used for rappelling.

  • Life Safety Rope – any rope meeting the NFPA standard 1983 for life safety applications. 

Factors which affect rope

Factors Which Affect Rope

  • tree bark

  • concrete

  • chemical exposure

  • rocks

  • bends

  • hardware

  • knots

  • water

  • extreme temp.


Care and maintenance

Care and Maintenance

  • Clean using mild soap and water

  • Inspect after each use

  • Never wash on the ground or in top loading wash machines

  • Machine wash only in approved extractors

    (Daisy prior to washing in extractors)

  • Air dry only; DO NOT DRY IN THE SUN!



  • Store in bags away from abrasives and chemicals

  • Always store away from sunlight

  • Periodically inspect for abrasion and tears

  • Pre-packed systems should be periodically broken down and rebuilt



Two Types

  • Tubular – rated at 4,000 lbs end to end; nylon forms a continuous tube

  • Edge Stitched – single nylon layer stitched together; NOT FOR RESCUE!



  • Five Basic Parts

    • Spine

    • Latch

    • Gate

    • Lock sleeve

    • Hinge Pin




  • Used in sport applications

  • Lighter, less expensive

  • Do not rust or wear out like steel

  • Breaking strength up to 6,000 lbs




  • ALWAYS used for rescue

  • Stronger, less susceptible to abrasion

  • More expensive

  • Requires regular maintenance

  • Breaking strength up to 13,000 lbs

Descent control devices

Descent Control Devices

  • Provide rope control utilizing varying levels of friction.

  • NFPA 1983 requires general use DCDs to with stand a 2,400 lbs load with out damaging the rope

  • DCDs must with stand 5,000 lbs loads without failure

Basic haul systems

Descent Control Devices

Rescue Figure-8

  • Ears prevent rope from slipping up forming a girth hitch

  • Rescue 8s can be tied off, preventing the rope from slipping

Descent control devices1

Descent Control Devices

Rappel Racks

Consist of several steel or aluminum bars mounted on a U-shaped rack

  • Bars create variable degrees of friction

  • Rope threaded straight through a rack eliminates “turning” encountered with Figure 8s

Basic haul systems

Descent Control Devices

  • Figure 8

  • Designed only as a descent or rappelling device

  • Only for rappels of 100 ft. or less

Ascending devices

Ascending Devices

Used for one way movement of a rope and for climbing ropes.

Examples:Cam ascenders

Handled ascenders


Ascending devices1

Ascending Devices

Mechanical Ascenders

  • Can be applied to any working rope

  • Apply perpendicular pressure to the rope

  • Mechanical ascenders can “de- sheath” a rope with as little as

    1,000 lbs of pressure

Basic haul systems

Ascending Devices

Prusik Cords

  • Can be used as “soft rope grabs”

  • Handle up to 3,000 lbs

  • Create mechanical advantage for haul systems

  • Can be used under shocked loads with out fear of “de-sheathing” ropes



Pulleys are used for:

  • Change in directions

  • To reduce friction

  • Create mechanical advantage for haul systems



Pulley Construction

  • Sheaves

  • Side Plates

  • Axles

  • Bearings

NFPA 1983 states that pulleys must withstand 5,000 lbs static without distortion and 8,000 lbs with out failure

Special pulleys

Special Pulleys

Some pulleys are designed to solve technical rope problems

  • Prusik Minding

  • Knot-passing

  • Double or Triple Sheave

Edge protection

Edge Protection

Up to 90% of all rope failures are due to improper edge protection!

Edge Protectors

  • Reduce rope abrasion

  • Can be made of canvas, hose or turnout coats

  • Dynamic Protectors – help reduce friction and are used when ropes are moving across surfaces



  • Requirements are listed in NFPA 1983

  • Must have permanent labeling; listing harness class, date of manufacture and sizing information



Harness Classes

  • Class I

    • Seat style

    • For emergency escape and one person loads




  • Class II

    • Seat style approved for rescue

    • Can be used for two person loads



  • Class III

    • Full body harnesses

    • Used when inversion is possible

    • Handles one or two person loads

    • Requires no prior knowledge on the part of the patient once in the harness



  • Ladder Belts

    • Waist belts

    • May be used as positioning devices

    • For emergency self rescue only

Knot terms

Knot Terms

  • Bend

  • Hitch

  • Anchor

  • Safety

  • Whip

  • Running end

  • Working end

  • Standing part

  • Bight

  • Round Turn

Rescue knots

Rescue Knots

  • Clove Hitch

  • Water Knot

  • Munter Hitch

  • Tensionless Wrap

  • Overhand

  • Figure 8

  • Figure 8 On-a-bight

  • Figure 8 Bend

  • Figure 8 Follow Through

Student activity 1

Student Activity #1

Knot Tying

Anchor points

Anchor Points

Type I – Natural Anchors

  • Rocks

  • Trees

    Type II – Manmade Anchors

  • Vehicles

  • Utility Poles

Anchor considerations

Anchor Considerations

  • How much is the anticipated load?

  • Is the anchor suitable given the direction of the load?

  • Does the anchor have sharp edges?

  • Is the anchor rusted, broken or rotten?

  • How will you attach to the anchor?

  • Does the anchor have sufficient mass?

Attaching to an anchor

Attaching to an Anchor

  • Use 1” tubular webbing

  • Double webbing

  • Approach must not exceed 120 degrees

  • 90 degrees is optimal for field use

Attaching to an anchor1

Attaching to an Anchor

  • Use a 15:1 safety ratio

  • Anchors must be “bomb proof”

  • Anchors should weigh the same or more than the anticipated load

  • Trees should only be used if they have a diameter greater than 4 inches

All anchors should be edge protected!

Anchoring to vehicles

Anchoring to Vehicles

  • Should only be used as a last resort!

  • Keep anchor straps away from hot surfaces

  • Chock all wheels

  • Shut off engine

  • Remove keys/shut off batteries

  • Post a “guard”

  • Never use vehicles to haul people!

Secondary anchors

Secondary Anchors

  • Run mainline for primary to secondary and tie it off

  • Should be as close to “in-line” with primaries as possible

  • Parallel anchors may be used as a single primary anchor



  • Flat

    • Angles of 0 to 15 degrees

    • Rescuers may carry litter with out falling

    • No rope system required

    • No need to “tie in” rescuers

    • No technical equipment or training needed



  • Low

    • Angle of 15 to 40 degrees

    • Incline or environment makes carry difficult

    • Tag line or anchored system needed to stabilize the litter

    • Rescuers not required to “tie in” to the litter

    • Risk of fall injuries are increased



  • Steep

    • Angle of 40 to 65 degrees

    • Haul system required to move patient

    • Failure may have catastrophic result for rescuers and patient

    • Load is shared by rescuers and patient

    • Requires rescuers to “tie in” to litters



  • High or Vertical

    • Angle of 65 to 90 degrees

    • Attendant required, tied in to the litter

    • Rope system for raising and lowering required

    • Attendant suspended on separate line for the litter bridle

    • Failure of system would cause serious injury or death.

Mechanical advantage

Mechanical Advantage

  • Haul systems are labeled by mechanical advantage, i.e. 3:1, 4:1, etc.

  • Each turn in a haul systems yields one unit of mechanical advantage using pulleys

  • In a 3:1 system, for every unit of input force, the system will yield three units of output force

Mechanical advantage1

Mechanical Advantage

  • Conversely in a 3:1 system, for every three feet of rope pulled through the system, the load will travel one foot

  • Simple haul systems should never exceed 5:1 mechanical advantage

Haul systems uses

Haul Systems Uses

Haul systems have many uses on various emergency scenes such as:

  • Auto rescue

  • Machinery Rescue

  • Trench

  • Confined Space

  • Water rescue

  • Structural collapse

  • Train rescue

Components of a haul system

Components of a Haul System

The following is a list of the most basic haul system components

  • Carabiners

  • Pulleys

  • Prusiks or Cams

  • Anchor point

  • Rescue rope

  • A load

Student activity 2

Student Activity #2

Constructing a 3:1 “Z-Rig”

Hauling victims

Hauling Victims

  • Once a system is constructed, spinal precautions must be taken to successfully move the victim

  • There are two methods for tying litters, SKEDS and backboards into a haul system

Hauling victims1

Hauling Victims

  • Direct Tie-in Method

    • Tying the rope directly to the movement apparatus

  • Bridle Method

    • Utilizing 1” tubular webbing and a carabiner to connect the apparatus to the system

Securing the patient

Securing The Patient

  • Patients should be secured utilizing C-spine precautions

  • Patients should be secured using provided safety belts and 1” tubular webbing

  • Starting at the patients feet; webbing should be weaved in an “X” pattern to the top of the victim’s shoulders

Student activity 3

Student Activity #3

Securing a patient

Haul system safety

Haul System Safety

  • Establish a plan prior to constructing or loading rope systems

  • Be familiar with all equipment

  • Know operating commands and principles

  • Understand mechanical advantage

Haul system safety1

Haul System Safety

  • Know equipment and shock load limitations

  • Have enough manpower on scene to properly facilitate a rescue

  • Never use mechanical devices, such as powered vehicles, to pull rope through haul systems

Rope safety

Rope Safety

  • Follow all manufacturer recommendations for cleaning, storage and service life

  • Keep ropes protected; away from corrosives, abrasives, open flames and cigarettes

  • Always have an adequate length of rope before attempting the rescue

Rope safety1

Rope Safety

  • Rope hardware should be taken out of service immediately if dropped from a height of waist level

    • Drops can create stress fractures in the which can lead to failure

    • Dropped equipment should be X-rayed or replaced

Rope safety2

Rope Safety

  • Remove all knives, keys and dangling jewelry

  • Edge guards should always be employed

  • Always wear gloves, helmets and eye protection

Rope safety3

Rope Safety

  • Designate one rescuer as the “edge man”

  • Haul teams should only follow commands from the “edge man”

  • Watch for falling rocks, landslides, fraying ropes or obstructions

  • Never let go of the mainline until the system is set and the “edge man” gives the “SET” command

Verbal commands

Verbal Commands

  • The following are the commands that should be used when hauling a victim

  • These commands should only be given by the “edge man” or “edge officer”

  • The only person the haul team should take orders from is the “edge man”

Verbal commands1

Verbal Commands

  • Safety is set

  • Slack

  • STOP

  • Off Belay

  • Belay Off

  • On Belay

  • Belay On

  • Prepare to Haul

  • Haul

  • Set

Practical skills

Practical Skills

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