Equipment Review: Traverse 540 Rescue Belay

Traverse 540 Belay

In this video, Pat discusses the Traverse 540 Rescue Belay.

Overview of the device as well as demonstrations for rigging.

What do you think of the Traverse 540?

Let us know in the comments!

Check out the Traverse 540 Belay Device at the manufacturer’s website:


Rescue Training in Live Environments: My Experience Aboard the USSNC

USS North Carolina

For many Rescue Technicians, the opportunity to train in a real live environment isn’t something that happens everyday. We try to make the simulation and environment as real life as possible but are road blocked by having a safe environment without the potential of an incident to occur to us. This happens especially in the rescue aspect of Confined spaces. We are informed that the space may have a possible air quality hazard, that access and egress are limited and if we go into these spaces, who is it that will rescue us?

I recently had an opportunity to train in a true confined space with limited hazards (to negotiate all hazards is near impossible). The rescue company, to which I work for, was willing to send me to a group of Rescue Professionals in North Carolina, aboard the decommissioned USS North Carolina Battleship. I instantly jumped at the chance to train with other Rescue Professionals and to have a live environment.

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Digitalization of Safety?

Digitizing Forms

Ronin staff have provided rescue standby services on sites across the country.  As part of this service we are frequently asked to perform other tasks such as confined space hole watch, safety officer duties and first aid.  Our staff also conduct tail boards and create other documentation such as fall protection plans to ensure the safety of both our team and our clients staff.  On even a short shut down, this can lead to a great deal of paperwork being created.  The staff often need to refer to previous paperwork to ensure continuity and safety.  As such keeping the paperwork clean, dry and returning it to our offices in a reasonable time frame become issues.  Auditing this paperwork is also necessary to ensure that it is completed properly and to identify any training requirements.  As we were sorting through literally bankers boxes full of paperwork for a standby rescue project the thought occurred to us – why don’t we digitize this?

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Advancing Vertical Rescue in Australia: A Worldwide Fact Finding Report

In 2014 Scott Young received The David Balfour Churchill Fellowship to “advance fire fighter safety by studying overseas developments in the vertical rescue industry”

Essentially, he was given the funding and support to travel the world and study the best elements of vertical rescue around the globe. He spent time in the US, Belgium, Japan, UK and France learning from the best practitioners.

He was kind enough to provide to us his complete report which is available to download and read:

Advancing Vertical Rescue in Australia: PDF

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Special Ops – Part Three – Support required for a Fire Service Technical Rescue Team

rescue team support

I have a unique view on the support required to maintain a properly equipped and trained technical rescue team. I have spent 15 years as an instructor on a fire departments rescue team as well as co-own a private rescue company. I understand many of the financial, technical and personnel challenges that exist.

When a department decides to stand up a technical rescue team it needs to be a decision that includes the firefighters on the floor. They are the ones who will make or break the team. Just deciding to “try and do rescue” will inevitably lead to disaster. The staff that will make up the team have to be committed to put the time in it takes to create a high performance team. While special operations teams in the military still have a hierarchy, each member does have more autonomy, responsibility and the ability to influence the outcome of the task. If fire departments want truly special operation capable teams, then the members of that team require the same latitude.

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NIMS ICS for Technical Rescue Incidents


Is everyone on the same page? This article is to see if the NIMS 100 and 200 level classes are followed or just blown over because we all had to do them. Most of us across the country were required to do these classes and , don’t lie, most of us copied from our fellow firefighters. But were we just cheating ourselves. NIMS , in my opinion is a great way for all of us to be on the same page at incidents. It is used by all First Responders including Police, Public Works and now Schools, especially since those mass shootings. Communication has been one of the biggest problems on small and large incidents. Read some of the NIOSH reports, you will see in some incidents a lack of communication and control. So with that said lets look at why we should all be following the NIMS terminology.

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Special Ops – Part Two – Training required for a Fire Service Technical Rescue Team

rescue team training

Last week Mark introduced us to some of the issues involved in maintaining supposed “Special Ops” teams in the fire service. Today he continues the discussion with part 2 of this discussion focused on the training required for a fire service tech rescue team to maintain competency.

Firefighters train daily. Medical, auto-extrication, fire attack, driving, public education, hazardous materials, rescue, building construction, breathing apparatus and the list continues. Sometimes it appears to be the “jack of all trades, master of none” scenario. However, every training topic in the fire service links with another. Should training for technical rescue not be simple to complete? There would appear to be an obvious answer to this statement, but after many years evaluating rescue teams, training is the number one reason for the success or failure of a team.

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Special Ops – Part One – Certification and Competency

Special Ops

In the fire service specialty disciplines such as Technical Rescue and Hazardous Materials Teams are often lumped under the “Special Operations” category (in this article we will focus specifically on technical rescue).

For anyone that watches the news the term “Special Operations” immediately has them thinking about Military Special Forces (SF) or at the very least highly trained, specialized teams. The questions posed here are; is “Special Operations” the correct word for these teams in the fire service? Is the term too militarized? Are the teams trained well enough to be considered a “highly trained, specialized team”?

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Drone Use in SAR – Part One: Selecting the Right UAV

Drone use in SAR 1

-Article courtesy of Mike Scott

With the cost and size of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s) shrinking we are seeing more and more teams employing these amazing little machines to aid in searches and team coordination. However, like any piece of great gear, it’s only as good as the person using it. Some of you may be sitting on the fence when it comes to using a UAV or drone in your SAR operations. Some may be fully one way or the other. Over the next few posts I will try to clear up some of the misconceptions and maybe help you decide if this is something your team could benefit from.

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Equipment Review: Sparrow 200

sparrow 200 equipment review

In this video, Pat discusses the Sparrow 200; another self-braking descender for rescue purposes.

Overview of the device as well as demonstrations for rigging.

What do you think of the Sparrow 200?

Let us know in the comments!

Check out the Sparrow 200 Decent Device at the manufacturer’s website:


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