SECURING TAG LINES TO BASKET LITTERS
Using tag lines is an important part of many rescue evolutions involving rescue baskets. Tag lines are used to maneuver a basket around obstructions when lifting. They also can change the horizontal angle of a basket litter to compensate for load conditions. The effectiveness of any tag line is determined by where and how it is secured to the basket litter.
A tag line usually is tied to the ends of the basket. This allows the basket to be leveled in the case of an offbalance load or to be pulled clear of obstructions. Tag lines also can be secured to the sides of the basket; this allows the basket to be tilted sideways should it have to be lowered or lifted through a narrow opening. If the basket litter is being lifted in the vertical position, secure a tag line to the bottom to control any tendency to sway.
The manufacturers of basket litters usually provide a means for attaching carabiners or rope to the baskets for the purpose of lifting. It could be in the form of a grommet or any section of the rail void of any sharp edges or small holes. If a rope is passed through a section of the basket other than those described above, severe abrasion or broken rope fibers can result. Ropes used as tag lines usually are utility ropes. Since they do not support a load, it is not necessary for them to be treated as a rescue rope.
Most fire service utility ropes are of plaited construction rather than the kcrnmantlc-typc construction of most current rescue ropes. As we already know, the outer covering of a kemmantle rope protects the inner core from abrasion: a plaited rope wears on the fibers that give the rope its strength. So you have a problem when a utility rope is used as a tag line and secured to a part of the basket litter where there is no abrasion protection.
To reduce this abrasion, personnel can do several things. A regular inspection of the parts of the basket litter that come in contact with the rope can reveal any sharp edges or loose basket-frame components. The ropes used for the tag lines should be inspected on a regular basis. Any unprotected areas through which the ropes pass could be protected by applying a coating or abrasion-resistant material to the corners. Of course, consult the manufacturer before making any type of modification