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  • Pre-Made -VS- Rescuer Made

    I recieved an email that I thought would make a great poll question.
    The topic of the email was pre-made 4:1 mechanical advantage systems and there uses . As I answered their questions It evolved into the pros and cons of pre-made systems. Personally I a fan of building your own system, I think it's more versatile that way, problems regarding the system are overcome easier, and I just think building systems keeps your skills up especially someone new to rope rescue.
    So I'm curious what do you prefer?
    Mike Donahue
    "Training Prepares You...For Moments That Define You

  • #2
    Mike,
    I agree with your assessment. Pre rigging your own systems is acceptable in my opinion as long as all personnell are familiar with the rigging and can troubleshoot it and re-assemble the rigging. Even if you are not new to rope rescue having the ablility to build the systems will fade with lack of use. Kind of a if you dont use it you lose it thought process. I am also a fan of taking the pre-rigged system apart and putting the equipment away and saying build one. Keeps peoples minds fresh and able to think the process of building a system through.
    Shawn M. Cecula
    Firefighter
    IACOJ Division of Fire and EMS

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    • #3
      Sew your own every time. Keeps skills up and doesn't tie up equipment unnecessarily, not every department is blessed to have a bottomless equipment cache. Pre-rigged is nice as long as it comes out of and is put into the bag properly. Put it away carelessly once and it'll come out all screwed up, Lewiston, I like the idea of taking it completely apart and putting it all away, then getting the fellas to rig it. Keeps everyone sharp!
      John D. Calamia, BS, NREMTP, FP-C
      Firefighter/Flight Paramedic
      Broomall, PA

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      • #4
        I'm going to have to disagree with tearing it down for storage. The purpose of a pre-rigged system is to be able to quickly deploy it when seconds count. On scene is NOT the time to give your crew a task to keep skills sharp. If you have concerns about their abilities, Get the 4:1 off the truck during morning shift meetings, weekly training or whenever and have them build it then.

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        • #5
          I'm pretty sure the tearing apart of the pre-made 4:1 is during training nit on a job. I think you just misunderstood the posting.
          Mike Donahue
          "Training Prepares You...For Moments That Define You

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          • #6
            I'm a big believer in pre-rigging everything including knots, anchor straps and carabiners. Plenty of time after training and use to tear it down and rebuild.

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            • #7
              Pre-rigging does save time in certain instances, but you know the old adage...if you don't use it you lose it. Rig everything from scratch everytime, its much more adaptable to all situations, not to mention good practice. Train like you play, play like you train. It takes more time to try and re-adapt a pre-rigged system then to build it from the ground up.
              John D. Calamia, BS, NREMTP, FP-C
              Firefighter/Flight Paramedic
              Broomall, PA

              Comment


              • #8
                We keep a pre-made 4:1 in a rope bag for confined space. We also have a few mini 5:1's in accessory bags for pick offs and knot passing. Other than that, you never know what the situation will call for, so having pre-rigged MA's is kind of silly.

                I got to agree with some here also. Unless you built it yourself, you never know exactly what you are going to get. Similarly, we don't let anything but a stopper knot (figure 8, overhand or fisherman's knot) on either end of a rope in a rope bag. This insures that each time you use the rope you are the one tying the knot and you know what you got, not depending on if someone else tied something right when putting the rope away.
                ~Drew
                Firefighter/EMT/Technical Rescue
                USAR TF Rescue Specialist

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                • #9
                  We have an Aztec compact 4:1 that is pre-rigged. It is very quick to deploy and has prussiks built-in to catch the load, very handy. This is at the private company I work for doing confined space. At the job, we have one rope bag with a pre-rigged 4:1. I agree that training needs to be kept up on how to build one, along with all the other skills. Unfortunately, with more and more things we have to do and less people to do them with, our training time has become an endangered species. Those of us that want to keep up our training have to take it upon ourselves to get it done.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Ack8236 View Post
                    Those of us that want to keep up our training have to take it upon ourselves to get it done.
                    thats the way it always seems to be. The ones with the passion keep up with their own training, even though they are the ones least likely to need it. It seems that the folks on the team who are just there, are the ones who need the training, but don't get it. Sometimes it really seems that there is too much on our plates to keep up with everything. We have to keep current in rope, con space, trench, structural collapse, tunnel, and hazmat, not to mention fire and EMS. But I guess this is a subject for another thread.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by TRT24 View Post
                      thats the way it always seems to be. The ones with the passion keep up with their own training, even though they are the ones least likely to need it. It seems that the folks on the team who are just there, are the ones who need the training, but don't get it. Sometimes it really seems that there is too much on our plates to keep up with everything. We have to keep current in rope, con space, trench, structural collapse, tunnel, and hazmat, not to mention fire and EMS. But I guess this is a subject for another thread.
                      I will agree rescuers "Us" today have a lot on our plates as far as training however I firmly believe it's our responsibility to keep our skills sharp even
                      outside the firehouse. Unfortunately not everyone has that mentality and the guys that do...well it's easy to get frustrated with the guys that don't. That's why I think pre-rigging is a double edge sword. Those guys that aren't so training motivated will never learn how to do things if everything is pre-rigged. On the flip side pre-rigged systems do save time and have their place. The basics of rigging are skills that if not used...will be lost. I'd hate to ask a guy to rig from scratch on a call and in return get a blank stare. Clearly these are just my thoughts on the topic and as they say different strokes for different folks right? I don't even leave knots tied in my ropes because rope has memory and even an unloaded knot due to the sharp bends weakens the rope. Some may think that's a bit extreme and that's okay. I'm just anal like that.
                      Mike Donahue
                      "Training Prepares You...For Moments That Define You

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                      • #12
                        Rescuer Made

                        I use both rescuer made systems and commercial premade systems.
                        In my experience the commercial systems are bulkier and limited in length. I use them but prefer building my own for specific uses.

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                        • #13
                          The rope team of my rural volunteer fire dept. performed very well in the following training sessions this past year:
                          - cat walk rescue with sideways A-frame fabricated from 12 ft long 4 x 4s
                          - tower rescue with skate block system
                          - high angle raise/lower with tripod fabricated from 12 ft long 4 x 4s
                          - horizontal Kootenay highline
                          - sloping Kootenay highline
                          - steep angle raise/lower with rock anchors (only) and a radical change of fall line in the middle of the lower/raise
                          - single man pick offs

                          Other than pre-tied Radium release hitches, I cannot think of a single pre-rigged system that would have substantially improved the speed of any of these operations. The speed limiting step always seems to be on-scene management rather than rigging.

                          Mind you, we don't do CSR, trench rescue, or Haz Mat, but, we still do fire suppression, vehicle extrication, and EMS, AND every single member of the team has a 9-5 job outside the dept.

                          Well, OK, the sloping highline training was kind of a dud. We did have some problems with that one.

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                          • #14
                            What were the problems you encountered?
                            Mike Donahue

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by FHEditor View Post
                              What were the problems you encountered?
                              Mike Donahue
                              We did a sloping highline off a flat-topped water tower. We were experimenting, so we didn't use a live load.

                              We set up a tripod as an AHD on top of the tower. The track line went from a high-strength tie-off at ground level on one side of the tower, through a pulley hanging from the tripod, and then down to the tensioning system at ground level on the other side of the tower. No matter how close we put the tripod to the edge of the tower we couldn't get the load to completely clear the edge of the tower; the tripod (which was rigged from 10 ft long 4 x 4s) was simply just not tall enough to allow sufficient clearance.

                              Lesson learned: If the track line isn't rigged high enough you might have to struggle with the load.

                              We were just playing. In an actual rescue we'd just use a standard high angle lower and a guiding line.

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