This past weekend, I had a wonderful opportunity to study and train with some of the best rope rescue personnel in the state of Maine. The 3-day workshop, hosted by Mt. Desert Island Search & Rescue (MDISAR), was put on by Rigging for Rescue, a technical rope rescue training company out of Ouray, Colorado. Every technical rope rescue team in the State of Maine was represented at this workshop. According to instructors, Mike Gibbs of Ouray and Leo Loyd of Durango, who train with teams all over the world, this kind of statewide cross-training opportunity is very uncommon but essential.
Although I have done my share of rope rescue training over the years, I quickly learned that I was the only person in the room that did not have technical rock or ice climbing experience! Being the least experienced workshop participant was actually a great position for me to be in. As a public school teacher, it is very valuable to experience ‘not getting it.’ It helps inform my teaching and makes me more in-tune with the students in my classes who are in the same place. Mike, Leo and the members of the class were very supportive with my questions and quest to understand.
Participants agreed that this kind of cross-training event was a great way to share information, team build, network, and practice common techniques. One thing that I heard many times during the weekend was that many teams have adopted the text: Technical Rescue Riggers Guide, 2nd Edition by Rick Lipke as their un-official rope rescue standard. I borrowed a copy from Mike at BSP, and found it to be very helpful and comprehensive.
-Steve Mitman FSAR
-Steve Mitman FSAR
Some of the systems and concepts we worked with over the 3 days:
- Simple, compound and complex mechanical advantage systems
- Parallel Plaquette main lowering system
- Tandem prusik belay system
- Prucel prusik use
- Rock anchoring techniques
- Edge management and protection
- Verticle litter edge bridal
- Litter patient securing techniques
- Common rope rescue voice commands
- Scene size-up
- T-Method (I still don’t get it!)
- Scarab rescue friction device
- And much more
Participants were from the following teams and organizations:
National Park Service
Baxter State Park
Many Thanks to Steve H. at MDISAR for his hard work in organizing this great training.