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Duties and Responsibilities


PURPOSE:   (top)

To provide guidelines for rope rescue.

SCOPE:   (top)

These standard operating guidelines are designed to provide guidance for the Combined Agency Response Team (CART) and other Fire Department personnel during all phases of rope rescue operations. They are designed to improve safety and enhance the rescue operation. These guidelines should not limit the initiative of the first arriving companies or Rescue Team members.


Any rescue which requires the victim to be accessed or removed by rope, constitutes a rope rescue.


The following eight (8) aspects of a Rope Rescue operation are standard operating procedures (SOPs) and are not to be deviated from.

A. The stricken agency shall assume command and control of any incident involving a rope rescue or recovery within the Department's boundaries.

B. Any potential rope rescue incident in which a person is trapped, injured, experiencing a medical emergency, or is deceased shall require the response of the Rescue Team.

C. Any civilian or Fire Department personnel, who is unauthorized, untrained, or lacks the proper specialized rescue equipment needed to perform the rescue, shall not be assigned to entry or Rescue Sector.

D. High angle rescue requires technical training and proper equipment. All trained personnel performing the rescue shall be outfitted with proper equipment prior to attempting any rescue.

E. If a potential for a hazardous atmosphere exists, requiring monitoring, IC or Rescue Sector will assign an Air Quality Sector (AQS). AQS will follow OSHA guidelines.

F. If the readings for an oxygen enriched or flammable atmospheres exist, all rescue teams shall be immediately removed from the hazardous environment, until ventilation reverses the condition.

G. If any individual observes an unsafe act (actually or potentially unsafe), he / she must stop all activity until the deficiency is reversed.

H. A High Angle Rescue / Recovery Requires the establishment of the following Five (5) Sectors: (Appendix A)


1. Rescue Sector (Most qualified TEAM MEMBER) (1 TRT)   (top)

Responsible for coordination of the actual rescue operation and the sectors associated with all activity in the "rescue area". Reports directly to Operations (Ops)/Forward Command(FC). In the absence of Ops/FC, he/she reports directly to Incident Command (IC).

2. Site Control Sector (3 Fire Suppression)   (top)

Responsible for placement of apparatus, suppression control, isolation/lockout procedures, and lighting systems. Reports directly to Rescue Sector.

3. Equipment / Rigging Sector (1 Fire Suppression and/or 1 TRT)   (top)

Responsible for the establishment of an equipment sector site, and the assembly / placement of equipment necessary to perform the rescue. Reports directly to Rescue Sector.

4. Entry Sector (All TRT)   (top)

Responsible for being properly equipped to perform the high angle rescue. Including the equipment needed to effect the rescue/recovery. Reports directly to Rescue Sector.

5. Technical Safety (1TRT)   (top)

Responsible for observing and checking all technical aspects of the rescue. Works directly with the Department's Safety Officer. Reports to IC, Safety and Rescue Sectors.


Limited TRT manpower may require combining one or more sectors. The use of Fire Suppression Personnel is an integral part of successfully mitigating a High Angle Rescue incident.



Incident Command remains responsible for all aspects of the rescue scene. The following guidelines are designed to aid in the initial stages of a rescue/recovery (utilize tactical work sheet - Appendix B).

1. Ensure activation and appropriate dispatching of a Technical Rescue Team.

2. Ensure the response of appropriate apparatus. Call Mutual Aid if needed.

3. Establish a visible Incident Command Post (ICP).

4. Ensure First In Unit is perfoming adequite size-up using TRT tactical worksheet.

5. If not already established -- Establish Site Control Sector (second in unit)

6. Assign Rescue Sector as soon as possible (the stricken agency's most qualified TEAM MEMBER). If none available, it will be up to IC to determine the Rescue Sector.

7. Incoming apparatus equipped with only manpower should be at Level One (1) Staging.

8. Ensure adequate site access for placement of the TRT equipment near building or rescue scene.

9. Ensure direct access, to the scene, for TRT personnel and two (2) ALS Ambulances. Anticipate increasing the number of ambulances based on the information gathered by the First-in Unit.

10. Ensure Medical Sector (one of the two ALS Ambulances) has established a rehab area near the hot zone. Use the buildings' facilities if applicable.

11. Anticipate having to request special Mutual Aid to assist with the rescue. (Appendix C).




After giving an initial size-up report, via radio, to dispatch the first-in unit shall attempt to accomplish the following (utilizing tactical work sheet --Appendix D);

1. DO NOT ALLOW unauthorized and/or untrained personnel (including department personnel) into the HOT ZONE.

2. Locate and secure the job site foreman, co-worker, and/or reliable witness.

3. Determine the location and number of victims.

4. Attempt to establish contact with the victim(s) while remaining in a safe area. Contact established by FD Personnel must be maintained throughout the call.

5. Determine the number and location of access points to the area of rescue.

6. Attempt to determine the mechanism of entrapment or nature of illness or possible trauma to victim.

7. Ensure victim(s) are attached to their line and the line is properly anchored.

8. Locate potential anchors.

9. Determine if victim(s) are wearing a harnesses.

10. If a victims line, anchor, or harness appears unstable, a life-line shall be lowered to victim and anchored.

11. Establish alternate rescue possibilities - ie. ground ladders, aerial ladders, etc.

12. Determine if hazardous atmospheric conditions exist.

13. Determine electrical, mechanical and chemical hazards in the area.

14. Determine the type of work being done in the area of rescue.

Complete the First-In Unit Tactical Worksheet as soon as possible. Then report

directly to IC and/or Rescue Sector (Team Leader) to give a face to face report.


(Second-in Unit or as Assigned by IC)

The unit assigned to this sector shall attempt to accomplish the following (utilize tactical worksheet - Appendix E).

1. Establish and secure a perimeter (hot zone) with safety tape. Each incident is different, but secure a large area. Remember your anchor points when securing an area.

2. Ensure that all unnecessary personnel remain outside the perimeter.

3. If necessary request Police to assist with control of perimeter and the rerouting or stopping of traffic. Keep/relocate spectators, unnecessary personnel, and apparatus, a minimum of 500 feet away from the hot zone.

4. Ensure site access for other TRT Equipment.

5. Ensure that ambulances have direct access to the site.

6. Determine weather conditions and consider its effect on the rescue.

7. Shut down all devices capable of causing adverse changes in the atmospheric condition near the rescue scene.

8. Perform lock out/tag out procedures to ensure the zero mechanical state of all energy systems (electrical, pneumatic, hydraulic, gravity, stored, etc.).

9. If positive lock out control is not possible, a guard shall be posted at the controls to ensure a zero mechanical state.

10. If possible, utilize plant personnel or on scene workers to assist with lock out procedures.

11. Ensure adequate lighting.


Complete the Site Control Tactical Worksheet as soon as possible. Then report directly to IC and/or Rescue Sector (Team Leader) to give a face to face report.

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Last Updated  November 03, 2003
Copyright 2002 All Rights Reserved by  Lisle-Woodridge Fire District