All posts tagged rescue2training

After sharing a bunch of stories from around the world, here are two rope stories from the general where Rescue 2 Training is based out of.


The first story is of a cave rescue out of Monroe County, WV. The victim was approximately 4000′ inside of the cave when he fell approximately ten feet and broke his leg.  A mere 8 hours and 75 members later, he was back outside of the cave and on the way to the hospital. A picture from one of the local news stations shows just how much rope work went into this rescue.

I wasn’t there, so I feel a little bad about Monday Morning Quarterbacking it, but… A picture is just a snapshot of one small moment in time, but from looking at the picture, it seems that there were a couple of missed opportunities to tighten up the rigging a little bit. For starters, the double overhand safeties on the 8’s seems like a bit overkill. Additionally, the bights on the 8’s are overly long. And if clearance is an issue, and I assume it is being in a cave, why not just tie direct to the litter bridle with a scaffold knot and get yourself an extra 1′ or more of additional space?  Those minor quibbles aside, to looks like it was a difficult rescue and that they had to construct a highline in a cave just to provide a high anchor point to pull him up.




Even closer to home is the report of a man who fell 75 feet down Sugarloaf mountain while hiking and then had a seizure. Being on the dividing line between two counties, both Frederick and Montgomery County units assisted with the helicopter evacuation flown by Maryland State Police. I’m not sure about Mont. Co, but I know for certain the the Frederick County ATR (Advanced Technical Rescue) team does perform regular drills with the MSP helicopters in order to perform on these types of calls without any confusion. If your agency has the potential to run extract calls with a helicopter, do you have any special training to make sure nothing goes wrong when the helicopter shows up?


From the Frederick ATR Facebook page (cool video there of rescuers perspective too):

sugarloaf hoist



An interesting point from the news interview in the link below: When asked if he would go hiking again, the man who fell said that he probably wouldn’t do it unless he go there proper footwear and even then, would only stay on the trail. That’s an interesting point that might be lost on most people who have no idea why they might have fallen. Good for him for being self aware!






Thank you to everybody for all of the interest! After filling up all of the spots in our first class in record time, we opened up a second class right after the first one. That class has now filled, too! Keep an eye out on the website for our upcoming classes. We will most likely have the next one in March. You can sign up for our mailing list in the column on the righthand side of the web page.



After many months and many requests, we are once again offering open enrollment for our popular Modern Technologies in Rope Rescue class. Come join us in Lancaster, PA on Oct 17 and 18 to learn how much more efficient your rescues can be with a few pieces of modern gear and a whole lot of practical applications learned from real world experiences. Here is your chance to keep up on the latest equipment and trends in the rope rescue world.


After filling up the Oct 17, 18 class in record 5 days (!!!) we have decided to run a second class the following 2 days. The registration is currently open for the Oct 19, 20 class. The link at the bottom of this page will register you for the second class.


Topics this time around include:

Use of the AZTEK kit to pass knots, perform a pickoff, basket attending, and a whole lot more.

In depth discussion and use of the Two Tension Rope System utilizing the MPD.

Use of  the Arizona Vortex  high directional in the urban environment.

The Rescue 2 Training original: The Appalachian Doortex! For urban anchoring and elevator rescue. High Directional? Anchor? Both!?… Come find out!

3 dimensional anchoring with the UFO.

The Skyhook capstan winch.

…And much more.

The cost of this two day, 16 hour class is $295 per person. Just bring a harness, helmet, and any ideas or equipment you would like to see used.

Please contact Kelly Byrne at 240-462-6610 or with any questions.



IMG_0903IMG_0631IMG_1011IMG_0437IMG_1243azorp gin pole



Let’s face it, the fire service is not really screaming for any new acronyms; particularly one that rehashes another acronym but with a slight twist. Yet, here I am proposing a new acronym that is a twist on an old one.

One of the more noted acronyms when calling a Mayday is LUNAR. Location, Unit, Name, Air, Resources needed. While it is adequate, I’ve always wondered why “Air” was on the list. It’s not as if we’ll say: “He’s got plenty of air, let’s let him wait a while” or “He’s got plenty of air, let’s leave this RIT bottle here. I’m sure we’ll be done before he runs out”. It doesn’t really strike me as all that important.

I’ve also wondered why it has “Resources” there. While it might be chic in fire service management to use a word like “resource”, if I were in a jam the last thing I would be thinking about would be using a word like “resource” for what I need. I need HELP, not a resource. I imagine Resource is there, along with Air quite frankly, to help make a neat sounding acronym.


I think LUNAR is adequate, but I am proposing a new one based on my past experience as a truckie:







Help needed


That’s right, LUNCH. Who doesn’t think about lunch… particularly at a firehouse. Whole days revolve around it sometime and most guys never miss it. It’s unlike LUNAR in that, while the moon is out every night to possibly remind you, if you don’t leave the firehouse at night (truckie), you never get to remind yourself of it.


The one concession toward having a clever acronym is that I have also thought that adding your name in there was a little pointless as well. “Oh, it’s FF Byrne… F#ck him. We’ll get there when we get there”.  Without it though, we wouldn’t have the mildly smartass LUNCH acronym.


So… Next time you sit down at lunch, give yourself a 3 second refresher in calling in a mayday for yourself. For example:

“MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY. Rescue Team B, FF Byrne on the Bravo side of the kitchen table, I am out of A1 sauce for my dry steak the engine overcooked. I need A1 sauce and a cookbook for the engine to read the future. ”


Simple as that! Seriously though, it doesn’t have to take long and it keeps your mind in the game. And if anybody can think of another word for Help or Resource that begins with the letter K, we can get rid of “Name” as well and just go with LUCK.

lunch picture




We have just added an Open Enrollment Class for our Modern Technologies in Rope Rescue workshop on May 17 and 18 in Lancaster, PA.This class covers a lot of ground in two days. We will discuss and use the AZTEK in many of its essential uses. We’ll also be using the Two Tension Rope System concept with the CMC MPD. Additionally, we’ll be using the Arizona Vortex in some of its traditional configurations as well as the Rescue 2 Training original: the “Appalachian Doortex” configuration for urban anchoring and elevator rescue.

Come out and try the newest equipment and techniques in rope rescue. Cost of the class is $295.

Email Kelly M Byrne at or call 240-462-6610 for more information.

open enrollment lancaster may 2014.001ufo 2ufo 1
mpd 1

Here is a comparison of rescues performed at different speeds. The first one is an actual rescue from down in Florida of a worker who was suspended in his fall arrest harness after the scaffolding he was on collapsed. The word from our sources who were on the scene informed us that it took 1.5 hours to perform this pickoff rescue. I was not personally there and can not speak first hand of the details, but I am told that it was a pretty straight forward scenario that just took a very long time to accomplish.


The good news is that it was successful, but had the victim been in distress, it might have been a different outcome. A pickoff should be one of the bread and butter operations of every rope team. On the scene is not the time to figure out where your attachments go to the victim, method of unweighting them from their system, etc… This should all be hammered out and drilled on well in advance.

Click here for the story and video:


The opposite end of the spectrum is this video, brought to our attention by Eric Ulner of Ropes that Rescue, of a rescue competition which includes pickoffs. These guys are FAST!!! It looks like the video is sped up, but this is just the end product of dozens of hours of disciplined practice.

While real world rescues obviously present situations you are unable to specifically PLAN for, you should always be PREPARED for what might come your way. Rescues don’t need to happen at competition speed, but that’s no excuse for taking an excessive amount of time, either.

If you talk about adding a tensioned belay line to your system, you’re bound to develop some tension in your conversations with people who are not yet a fan of a tensioned belay line. The most common paradigm is to have a loaded main line and an untensioned, slack belay line; this is especially true in the fire service. Recently, however, there has been a bigger push towards sharing the load on both the main and belay line.

There are a couple of reasons for this push. On the fire service side of things, the advent of a device like CMC’s MPD which is able to serve as both a lowering device as well as a competent  belay device, has made it possible for departments to capitalize on the advantages of a two tension rope system while still having a piece of gear that meets the ubiquitous NFPA standard. The second reason for the recent trending towards having a tensioned belay line stems from some extensive research into the topic. At the forefront of this charge is Mike Gibbs and his company, Rigging for Rescue.

Just what are the benefits of having a tensioned belay? As you can see from the videos below, the load falls quite a bit less on a loaded belay line. This is because the stretch that would occur in the belay line is taken out by loading the belay line prior to its activation. This is a good thing! The longer you fall, the more likely you are to get run over by the basket or hit another object on your way down. In the case of a dual MPD system, you also get the added benefit of having a mirrored system at the anchor. It’s only one device to learn how to use, which is a nice added benefit if your team doesn’t get to practice as much as you might like. Check out a pretty in depth look at tensioned belays at :

The following tests were all performed by Rigging for Rescue and used a 200 kg test mass, 30m of 11mm rope in service (except for the last one, which is 10.5mm dynamic) and a tandem prusik belay. The notable differences in how far the load dropped before stopping comes from tensioning the belay behind the prusiks.

Gallagher anybody?


Be sure to check out RfR’s website for a lot of other great research and opportunity to learn from a very knowledgeable group.

Enrollment is now open for our Modern Technologies in Rope Rescue. The class will be held August 24 and 25 at the Lancaster County Public Service Training Center in Lancaster County, PA at a cost of $295 per student.

This class covers multiple versions of the bowline along with some pretty god reasons to consider them, several uses of the AZTEK kit, a thorough introduction to the Two Tension Rope System concept with the MPD, and the use of the Arizona Vortex Artificial High Directional in some pretty typical urban setup configurations as well as some Rescue 2 Training exclusive uses of it in a few of the Appalachian Doortex configurations. As you can see in the pictures below from our last class, we did a good bit of work with the Rock Exotica UFO. One particularly challenging and fun scenario was to change the direction of our main and belay lines 180 degrees on an anchor that was free floating in the middle of the stair landing. There was also some excellent use of the UFO to simplify the rigging of a Two Rope Offset.

In addition to the Arizona Vortex, Appalachian Doortex, MPD’s, UFO’s, and AZTEK’s, we’ll also have available for use in this class three new products (some not even on the market yet) from Rock Exotica:

The little brother of the UFO; the rockStar.

The Enforcer load cell; which features swivels at both ends, a digital readout, and Bluetooth transmitting capabilities!

The AZORP (Arizona Omni Rigging Pod); an add on used to increase the already amazing flexibility of the Arizona Vortex.

open enrollment August 2013

Here are some pictures from our last MTRR class; we did some heavy duty 3D rigging along with some urban AZV usage:

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This class is different each time we run it and we’ve developed new techniques each class with input and ideas from the students. If you’re interested in seeing and helping develop what’s on the cutting edge of rope rescue equipment and techniques, contact Kelly to reserve a spot in this popular class. Call 240-462-6610 or send an email to

If you remember the “Real Deal” rescue that occurred at Wallace Falls in Northeast Washington that we covered here a couple of weeks ago, then you will surely be interested in the follow up on it with an in depth look at thee operation. The article is written by Tom Vines and was brought to our attention by Mike Forbes from Spokane Fire.

Previous Coverage




It seems that some builders have no foresight. For at least the second time in as many months, somebody has crashed through their porch flooring and into a well. This time it was under an overhang, so no aerial was able to be used…. and it was a 60 foot drop. This rope rescue occurred in Hendersonville, NC.

Click here for the article and more pictures:

I imagine that these guys had the same problem as the guys doing a well rescue that we talked about a couple of weeks ago: the tripod is going to want to tip towards the direction of haul because of the resultant force being outside of the tripod footprint. Just looking at the pictures, it might have been possible to use the bottom of the porch column for a change of direction down low to help minimize that.

Also take note of the VERY long bights an the end line figure 8 knots. Those are going to eat up a lot of valuable real estate when trying to get in and out of the hole. The knot passing pulley is also going to eat up quite a bit of that same space. By tightening the bights and using a smaller pulley, it is possible to gain several inches of extra clearance where it is needed most.

Rig Tight!

If you remember and appreciate our previous post of the world’s worst edge transition, here is a video of the runner up. I try not not be TOO critical of video because I wasn’t there, but there is always room for learning and improvement. Soooo…


1. Having a high change of direction anchor at the edge

2. Having an attendant

3. And two tag lines

They still managed to get the basket hung up on the edge!

Possible fixes:

The high COD at the edge with a system behind it should have enabled the crews to do a vector pull between the anchor and the COD to raise the basket temporarily at the edge to clear obstacle.

It looks like the attendant was just going along for the ride rather than being an active attendant trying to help the basket to negotiate obstacles. While the low attendant position (legs below the basket) seems to be the most popular, I think it would be beneficial in this case, at least during the edge transition, for the attendant to ride in the high position. This is where the attendant’s legs are above the basket and below the attachment bridle. This would allow for keeping the basket away from the snags at the edge. Moving to the low attendant position after the first edge would allow the attendant to keep away from obstructions coming up from below.

Pull on the tag lines!

As a guy who loves to train, I’m reasonably sure that regular  training on rope rescue techniques, regardless of equipment, could have solved many of these issues. Get out there and play!