Rope Rescue Edge Pro

Edge protection is a vital piece of the rope rescue puzzle but it is often overlooked or done improperly. Over the last 15 years of teaching rope rescue and working for a department that gets our fair share of high angle calls I have used almost every type of edge protection out there… most leave little to be desired.

Now their is a difference in wether you are doing a rope rescue in a urban setting (off of a crane or off an apartment building) or weather you are operating in a wilderness setting. If you are working in an urban setting the rope protection is fairly easy, a couple small rollers and you are set. But in a wilderness setting it can be slightly more difficult, the rope has several different rocks, tree roots, etc. that it can pass over. Several years ago I was shown a homemade version of edge protection that is still the best I have used to date.


The edge protection is made using small diameter wood dowels that are strung together with some old 6 millimeter cord. The dowels are cut to length, drilled, sanded and then they are ready to be assembled. Small sections of clear water pump tube can be used as spacers on the ends to keep the dowels spaced.


Once the edge protection has been made and it is placed on the rocks you will see how it can bend and be manipulated into the small cracks and forms to the shapes of the rocks. It makes a perfect “valley” for the rope to travel through, and you don’t have to worry about the rope wrecking your edge pro due to friction or sharp rocks.


The homemade edge pro folds up easily and is carried in our rope rescue bags, it weighs a little more then some commercially sold edge pro but I feel the extra pound is well worth the trade off.


The edge pro can also give you some added footing if the edge is slippery or there is the potential for loose ground. The whole edge protection cost about $20, which is well below the average cost for some edge pro.

Water Extrication Pt. 2

In the last water extrication post we talked about extrication tactics for vehicles partially submerged and what type of tactics and tools you would use for extricating a trapped paitent. Now lets look at you game plan if you had a fully submerged car with people trapped, what is your game plan? what tools, equipment, and training do you have for this? Do you have a dive team? If not what are you gonna do?

There are many different answers to these questions and all of them depend on your level of experience and training. What about attempting to haul the car back to shore? When was the last time you did a good heavy rigging drill? How much will your winches hold? what type and grade chain do you have?

What about using your SCBA as a SCUBA tank? The picture below is of the Norwalk Ct. Fire Department using their SCBA’s to rescue two people from a submerged car. Both people were removed from the car, one was resuscitated the other was not. I know several other fire departments have used this method to successfully rescue people from submerged vehicles, so what do you guys think? Is this a valid rescue method? Is this something your department would do? Ever trained in this method? Let’s hear your thoughts!