The 3 Configurations of Rope Rescue Systems A Tutorial By Jim Pearson
Rope Rescue Systems • Rope Rescue Systems incorporate a mainline to lower and raise rescuers and victims and; • A Belay line which provides a redundant safety component for those who are suspended from the mainline. • There are 3 configurations of rope rescue systems generally agreed upon by Fire Service Rescue professionals in California that can be adapted to any rope rescue or access situation. • Let’s look at an illustrated example of the most basic configuration on the next slide…
Rope Rescue System Components Anchor Anchor Double Prusik Belay with Mariner’s RPM Mainline Belay Line Both Mainline & Belay Lines always have separate and dedicated anchors
RPM Definition Rack Pulley/Prusik Mariner’s Knot (a load release strap) with pulley and prusik attached as shown
The 3 Configurations of RPMs: • There are three distinct configurations of RPMs for Rope rescue & access. They are: • In-Line RPM • Change-of-Direction RPM • Pig-Rig RPM • Each offer advantages & disadvantages
Advantages of Each Configuration • In-Line RPM is the simplest and uses the least amount of gear. • Change-of-Direction RPM bends the mainline 90 degrees to move the system off of a roadway or to a more advantageous location. • Pig-Rig RPM employs a second rope for mechanical advantage allowing the mainline to be fully extended over-the-side to it’s maximum length or “reach”.
Change-of-Direction RPM (Lower) A change of direction pulley and anchor are added here The Change-of-Direction RPM bends the Mainline 90 degrees to keep the system off of a roadway or position it to a more advantageous location. RPM configuration is the same as In-Line.
Pig-Rig RPM (Lower) Prusik is removed from here & set aside Pulley & carabiner are removed from here & set aside The Pig-Rig RPM adds an additional rope for raising operations, enabling the mainline to be fully extended to it’s maximum reach. RPM is configured differently than In-Line or Change-of-Direction RPMs (see above)
Pig-Rig RPM (Raise) Change of direction pulley is clipped directly to anchor plate to reduce pendulum effect when hauling A Pig-Rig RPM raise incorporates an additional rope system “piggy-backed” onto the mainline with a prusik Ratchet prusik is on the end of the Mariners to extend it’s location away from the pulley. It IS NOT self-tending and must be tended by hand!
Disadvantages of Each RPM Configuration • In-Line RPM requires the most area in-line with the direction of travel (up & down). • Change-of-Direction RPM places the RPM at a location away from the point of departure (over the edge) and requires one more pulley, carabiner, anchor sling/strap, and anchor. • Pig-Rig RPM requires one more rope in addition to the gear required for a Change-of-Direction RPM. Requires an additional person to tend ratchet prusik. RPM is configured differently than for In-Line and Change-of-Direction RPMs.
Discussion • All RPM configurations enable a rescue team to lower and raise rescuers and victims with the ability to change directions while under tension – that’s why they are always employed for any rope rescue or access situation. • Operation of each configuration is essentially the same regarding changing from a lower to a raise or a raise to a lower (see following slides for In-Line examples) • It is the rescuers responsibility to become familiar with each of the 3 RPM configurations discussed in this program and utilize the most appropriate for a given rescue. Obviously, this takes a bit of hands-on practice. Competency cannot be attained through simply viewing a PowerPoint program.
RPM Change-Over Sequence • The next 7 slides illustrate the steps required to perform a change-over from a lower to a raise and a raise to a lower. The In-Line RPM configuration is shown in this example, but the procedure is essentially the same for all 3 RPM configurations.
Change-Over from Lower to Raise, Steps 1 - 3 Step 1: Lock-off Mainline at the Rack Step 2: Attach Prusik to Mainline at the Mariner’s Step 3: Attach Pulley to Mainline at the Mariner’s
Change-Over from Lower to Raise, Steps 4 – 5. System is ready for Raise Step 4: Disconnect Mainline from Rack Step 5: Remove Pulley, Prusik, & Carabiner from Anchor Plate and rig as shown, forming a “Z-Rig”
Change-Over from Raise to Lower, Step 1 Step 1: Lock-off Ratchet Prusik on Mainline
Change-Over from Raise to Lower, Step 2 - 3 Sep 2: Remove both pulleys from Mainline Step 3: Remove Prusik from Mainline and cache with Pulley & Carabiner on Anchor Plate
Change-Over from Raise to Lower, Step 4 - 5 Step 5: Release the Mariner’s and slowly transfer load from the Prusik onto the Rack Step 4: Reeve Mainline into Rack & lock-off
Change-Over from Raise to Lower, Step 6 – 7. System is ready to Lower Step 6: Remove Prusik from Mainline and re-tie Mariner’s Step 7: Unlock Mainline from Rack & prepare to lower
Practice! • Hit the field with your crew and drill on the 3 configurations of RPMs until you can do them all in your sleep – you may have to soon!