Rope Rescue Operators Course

Over the weekends of 17th & 18th September and the 24th & 25th September 7 team members travelled to Lyon Equipment’s HQ at Tebay in Cumbria to attend a rope rescue operators course.  As well as Lyon being a supplier of outdoor and industrial access kit they are also one of the country’s premier rope access training providers.

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The course was led by Bill Batson who as well as being the training manager was senior instructor of the RAF mountain rescue team for many years, is a current member of the Cave Rescue Organisation in the Yorkshire Dales and is a member of the Search and Rescue Dogs Association of England so has a perfect perspective on the mountain rescue approach to rope rescue.

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Over the 4 days we were introduced to some of the work at height legislation and practical inspection of the personal protection equipment.  We then moved into the excellent indoor training facility that Lyon have to practice the use of fall arrest gear.

We then moved on to personal rope work and use of the Petzl ID and ASAP to carry out a personal abseil and the use of a Grillon for work restraint. Throughout the rest of the day we practiced these techniques and looked at double line rescue systems, pulleys and mechanical advantage.

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On the Sunday we moved outside to Hills Quarry where we carried out horizontal and vertical rescue of crag fast casualties and looked at the selection of natural anchors to use in the rescue system.  Throughout the day each person rotated through roles on the rope team.

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The second weekend started at the Lune Gorge site where the group recapped skills  from the previous 2 days then introduced the Larkin frame which is used to transition difficult edges and makes the rescue of a casualty easier and safer.

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Sunday found us back inside trying out more complex rope systems such as cableways and the English Reeve which are a more specialist techniques for more difficult to access areas.

The course had been a process of continuous assessment for the practical skills however there was a written paper to be taken.

At the completion of the course we now as a team have qualified rope rescue operators trained to the same standards of the statutory emergency services but are able to apply the methods to the mountain rescue environment.

Incidentally the team was called to assist in the rescue of a male who had fallen 35 feet into a ravine and we utilized the skills learned on the course.

Finally a massive thanks again to Bill and the team at Lyon for providing the team with such high quality training.