Class 5 Litter Handling & Offset Rigging

Written By: Lance Piatt

Class 5 Litter Handling

It may be necessary to lower the litter and rescuer past a roof or overhang. In this event, it will often be best for the litter tender to get his or her legs through the spiders or above the spiders so that he or she can hold the litter away from the wall and let it swing gently under the roof. After being lowered farther, the litter tender can move back under the litter.

Class 5 litter handling refers to the process of safely and effectively transporting an injured person on a stretcher. This includes ensuring that the patient is properly positioned and secured on the litter, as well as ensuring that the litter is properly rigged and secured in place.

In brief there are few basic setups for Class 5 Litter evacuations

Offsets are Class 5 litter handling moves that provide a means of redirecting the load away from a wall, rock face, or other obstruction. Use offsets to move the litter handler, patient and litter through space where the handler does not have the ability to move the litter. This may be out away from the wall or an obstruction or across a gap. Move the load only enough to clear the obstacle or span the gap.

  • Guiding Lines -A system combining a lowering system and a tension system designed to “guide” the litter out of a hazard zone and land safely. A mechanical advantage system can be used to tension  the track line.
  • Skate Blocks – A variation of the Guiding Line.  Typical terrain or locations would be towers or high rise structures as well cliff sides where there is a predetermined landing zone. They can be used in a raise as well.

Deflection Lines

If you’re Class 5 litter handling, you may need to use offsets to keep the litter away from the wall or rock face. Depending on the amount of offset, you may want two deflection lines. For short gaps, the deflected offset may not need two lines. When deciding whether to use a second line (or belay), you must determine the potential for serious injury caused by a pendulum if the deflection line(s) should fail.

Two Rope Offset System

The two-rope offset system is used as an alternative to deflection lines or Tyrolean traverses when spanning large gaps. Class 5 litter handling is incorporated into this system, using two TTRS (or two main/belay systems) that work together. While one system lowers, the other system raises. This technique is often used when there is a large group of people to be evacuated, as it can move more people at once than a deflection line or Tyrolean traverse.

Peace on your Days



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