June 23, 2016

Houston Brook Falls Rope Rescue Trainig, June 19, 2016

The FSAR RR team conducted a training at Houston Brook Falls on Sunday. We began at the CV fire station for a short classroom briefing and then moved into the field at Houston Brook Falls for hands-on evolution training.

We began with reviewing the verbal commands that would be followed during each lower and raise evolution during this training and at all live calls. As a team, we decided to use the same commands recommended in the Rick Lipke Technical Rescue Riggers Guide.  This guide has become the default standard for rope rescue in the state of Maine.  We also conducted a safety briefing and assigned Paul and Melissa as our safety officers for the training.  The training goals were outlined: safety, team building, mentoring of new members, hands-on practice and sharing of knowledge.

We headed out to the falls site where we collectively discussed each station. One at a time, we discussed, mainline, belay, edge attendants, litter attendant and command.  We talked about the possible hazards, options and factors that must be considered before beginning to construct each system. 

Next we broke into groups of 2 and constructed each station.  After being checked by the safety officers, we ran the first evolution of lowering a litter and attendant down about 20’ off a cliff next to the falls. The teams then switched over and rigged for a litter raise.  After a brief break for hydration, we critiqued the evolution one system at a time.

Next we switched roles, and started the 2nd evolution. We trained for 4 ½ hours at the falls conducting 3 complete evolutions including a critique of each.

Overall the team performed very well together, had some great discussions, encouraged full participation by all and shared and learned some new ways of thinking about each role in a successful RR operation. One group decision we made was to use the ‘figure 8’ family of knots, where applicable, as our ‘default’ knot on the rescue scene.

Our next training will be held at the end of the summer or in September and will be organized by Pat, Shannon and Jimmy, a training date (or options) will be announced soon.

Minutes respectfully submitted by S. Mitman 6-21-2016

 Photo credits: Gabe and Mit