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Rope And Rigging Rescue Drill
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By Lieutenant Sean Barron
August 31, 2017

On Wednesday August 30th members of the Thorndale Volunteer Fire Company conducted a rope and rigging rescue drill that culminated a few weeks of training in this specialized discipline.

The fire company was granted access to a construction site to use a recently poured residential concrete foundation on Pippen Lane within Caln Township. The scenario was set that a child was playing around on the construction site and fell inside sustaining multiple injuries. The crew had to use the previous few weeks of rope training to devise a method of retrieving the injured patient from inside the construction site. Thorndale Fire Police also set up a perimeter to control vehicular and pedestrian traffic and kept everyone safe.

The method of retrieval chosen consisted of finding an anchor point for the rope system called the System 99, using a 24’ extension ladder as a rail to slide the patient up out of the foundation once EMS teams were able to asses and securely package the patient into the stokes basket for removal. Once the system was set up and the patient was ready to be moved, the EMS team coordinated with the rope team to safely remove the patient and transfer them to a stretcher on the waiting ambulance. This system is very easy to use. Based on how it’s constructed, for every 100 pounds of weight to pull, the hauling team is only pulling 25 pounds.

System 99:
“The concept was first thought to have been devised by Archimedes on the Island of Syracuse sometime around 237 B.C.E. This is basic physics: you pass a rope through pulleys and gain a percentage of mechanical advantage for lifting or pulling horizontally with each drop of rope. The higher you go up with your mechanical advantage the more rope you must move to attain your goal. To ascend yourself 25 feet up without using any mechanical advantage just requires you to pull 25 feet of rope but it would be very difficult to pull. Using a four-to-one mechanical advantage, you would need to pull 100 feet of rope but it would be very easy to pull. The System *99* is such a success because it utilizes this basic physics principle to ascend and descend personnel in a safe and user-friendly way.”

The Thorndale Volunteer Fire Company would like to thank Matt Bedwell of Provident Homes Corp. for being a friend of the fire company by allowing us to use the construction site which helps us to develop and grow our skills necessary to be ready when the community needs us. Thanks also to Scott Thorton, Jim and Lisa from Washington Hose Company Ambulance 41-1 for providing our responding EMS unit and assisting us with our drill.

Units: Rescue 38, Engine 38, Utility 38, Command 38, Traffic 38
Mutual Aid: Washington Hose Company Ambulance 41-1
Hyperlinks: Washington Hose Company
Provident Homes Corp.
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