Mayday Monday: Search Rope

Mayday Monday: Search Rope

By Tony Carroll

It has been a long month and I hope you all have been waiting for a new edition of Mayday Monday. This past weekend marked the 17th anniversary of the tragedy from Worcester, Massachusetts, which took the lives of six firefighters. Please review this fire as we must continue to learn from past incidents in order to understand the hazards we face. Here is the link to the NIOSH report:

https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/reports/face9947.html

Also this weekend, there was a horrible fire in Oakland, California. They are still finding bodies in the warehouse where conditions could be described as “maze-like.” Both of these fires are examples of situations where the use of a search rope may benefit the crews. That is what we will train on this month. Let’s review some basics:

  • When to use it…
    • Searching for a missing firefighter. This allows us to get off of the wall, leads us out and help in.
    • Buildings with unusual layouts that can be confusing.
    • Large, open floor plans. This will, again, allow us to get off of the wall.
  • Setup
    • 200 feet long.
    • A ring every 20 feet.
    • A corresponding knot, or set off knots. One knot for every 20 feet away from the start of rope. 1 knot = 20 feet. 2 knots = 40 feet. 6 knots = 120 feet. Etc.
    • When following the rope out, the knots will present before the ring. When traveling in to towards the fire, the ring will present first (Ring of Fire).
    • High temperature, 10mm rope.
  • Drill
    • Breakup into teams of three. One with search rope. One with RIT Air Pak. One with search tool.
    • Hide a SCBA with PASS activated.
    • Have team search for SCBA while deploying rope.
    • Call for assistance. New team will follow rope.
    • Exit following rope.

Now, let’s get to it. Please forward pictures of your crews performing the search rope training. We may use them in upcoming editions. Send to mayday.monday@dc.gov. See you next month. Hope you have a Merry Christmas.

Tony Carroll is a captain with the safety office of the District of Columbia Fire & EMS Department.

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Mayday Monday: Size-Up

Mayday Monday: Entanglement

Mayday Monday: Air Consumption Drill

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