Firefighter Series - Fire, EMS, Rescue, Training

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Protocol Rescue LTD.
Edmonton, Alberta


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Saturday, August 22, 2015 - 15:51

Not all fire halls require a high angle rope rescue team (or a technical rope rescue team) but when it does, you want to ensure you have the best possible team in place. Safety of rescuer involved is a priority especially given the level of risk and associated liability required for this type of rescue.

i will be able to go more in depth to each component in later blogs but i will be able to give a brief overview of things to concider when considering a high angle rope rescue team:

Experience of the team

Do they have prior work experience in the field of rescue above fire fighting and on similar rescue situations ?  You should not only consider the lead rescue but also those working on the team as well, a good fire fighter does not always make a good rescue tech.

Cross-functional capabilities

A cost effective team will provide services beyond their core duties.  For example, technicians on the Protocol Rescue team have not only rope rescue experience but also firefighting, EMR/EMT, fire safety inspection, as well as additional oil and gas certification to make them extremely veritile and able to fill multiple rolls on any emergency scene.

Certifications and accreditations of team members

Like most fire training, specialists in high angle rope rescue should be certified by NFPA (National Fire Protection Association). 

The levels of certification under the 1006 standard are:

 NFPA 1006 awarness - 1 week - basics of rope rescue - all active members of the team should be be trained to this level

NFPA 1006 operations - 1 week -  rigging, lifting and lowering - able to rig in and operate equipment for rescue involved in all positions such as main line attendent, belay line attendant and patient packaging/attendent positions under the supervision of rescue tech level.

NFPA 1006 tech - 1 week - advanced rigging and complex rescues - able to lead teams of operations level rescuers through most rescue situations encountered - understanding of forces and angles affecting the rescue environment.


Rescue equipment is under standard NFPA 1983 and will have a stamp on hardware (pulleys, carabiners) to indicate it meets this standard, and is usually required to have 5,000 pound MBS (minimum breaking strength) for many components.

Software such as ropes, fabric anchor slings and harnesses will have tages to indicate they meet NFPA 1983, (these tages should not be removed). much of the software will meet the same 5,000 pound MBS as hardware or have specific limitations on usage during a rescue.

equipment used in recreational climbing or rope access is not always sutable in rescue, factors such as dynamic and static ropes, locking mecanizms on carabiners, and harness variations will not meet the required safety factors for a technical rescue.

if it doesnt say NFPA 1983, ensure it is sutable for rescue!!


Training exercises

Ensure the team trains regularly and ask them to perform a sample training exercise for your review to better understand the capabilities of the team. remember a rescue of a fire fighter from ropes is never a simple task, with ropes and equipment already used rescue of a fire fighter may be extremely difficult in complex rescue situations.

skills are lost quickly when not regularly practised.


A definite necessity.  Be sure your high angle rope rescue services company carries the correct level of insurance that mitigates your risk.


A reputable rope rescue services will maintain complete and comprehensive documentation of the team certification and training hours.  All the documentation should be up to date and available for both personnel and the equipment used in rescue kits.

If you have any other questions about selecting a high angle rope rescue team for your fire hall or emergency response team please contact

Jesse Hull

twitter : @ProtocolRescue