Fire and emergency management/Rescue victims of a building collapse/Ropes, tapes, knots and lashings/General information

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Ropes, Tapes, Knots & Lashings – General Information[edit | edit source]

Introduction[edit | edit source]

During a rescue operation, a variety of techniques involving ropes, tapes, knots and lashings may be required.

Identification[edit | edit source]

A system of marking each end of a rope for identification of length, and with a reference number to the rope history card, is recommended. Colour Coding can be used to quickly identify ropes, and should be located at each end of the rope. The suggested colour coding is:

  • GREEN—OK to use for all activities.
  • RED—not suitable for ‘life’ work.

Discard damaged rope immediately.

If faults are found during any rope inspection, immediate steps must be taken to rectify the problem(s) in accordance with Standard—AS4142.3 (or EN1891 or other local equivalent).

Record Systems[edit | edit source]

All ropes should be clearly and permanently identified and a record kept of individual items, their usage, inspection, and maintenance. Suggested headings for a record system are as follows:

  • Identity Number
  • Item Description
  • Purchase Date
  • Usage Dates
  • Description of Usage
  • Inspection Date
  • Inspected By: (name)
  • Maintenance Carried Out
  • Signature.

Rope[edit | edit source]

Rope is one of the most important tools of the rescue team. Rescuers will use a range of rope types for specific applications. All types have their advantages and disadvantages, but provided the rescuer has thorough knowledge of the characteristics and capabilities of each type, all will give valuable service provided they are appropriately cared for and maintained.

Whilst it is accepted that the Standard has not yet been adopted by all rescue services, it is strongly recommended that only synthetic fibre, Kernmantel, and static ropes which comply with AS4142.3, be used for life rescue purposes.

Types of Rope[edit | edit source]

The ropes in common use with rescue teams are:

  • Synthetic fibre rope
  • Climbing tape
  • Natural fibre rope
  • Flexible steel wire rope (SWR).

Terminology[edit | edit source]

For the purpose of this manual, the following terms are used in reference to open and rope management. Other terms may be used in specific organisations.

Anchoring Fastening a rope to some suitably secure object.
Belaying Controlling a safety rope attached to personnel or equipment as a backup in case of primary system failure.
Bight A simple bend in which the rope does not cross itself.
Breaking Force The averaged ultimate breaking point of rope.

Expressed in kilograms (kg) or in kilonewtons (kN) following rigorous testing. Also referred to as breaking strain or mean breaking load.

Hauling The act of pulling on a rope.
Half-Hitch The closed loop on a rope; a simple fastening of a rope around some object by winding and crossing one turn so that one section of the rope bites on the other without actually knotting the rope.
Kernmantel A style of construction of synthetic fibre rope, consisting of a core (kern)and a sheath (mantel).
Loop A simple bend in which the rope crosses itself.
Marrying Twisting the running end around the standing part, in the same direction as the lay of the rope.
Mousing Tying a piece of cord or wire across the jaws of a hook to prevent a rope or

from jumping out of the hook.

Parcelling / Edge Protection Wrapping a section of the rope to prevent chafing against some object.
Paying Out / Easing Reducing the tension on a rope so as to allow it to pay out or slacken.
Reeving Threading a rope through pulley blocks.
Round Turn One complete turn of a rope around a spar or another rope.
Running End The free or working end of a rope.
Safe Working Load (SWL) The maximum working load that should be applied to a rope. This is consistent with the factor of safety recommended for the conditions under which the rope is to be used (the breaking strain divided by 10).
Standing Part The part of the rope which is taking the load or which is static.
Tail The short length of rope or tape (approximately 100mm) that extends past the completed knot.
Whipping Binding the end of the rope with twine to prevent unlaying or fraying.

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