I am going to guess, that while most rescue professionals (paid and unpaid) know "what" a gin pole or monopod is, few understand "why" and "how". The use of elevated anchors, i.e. high directional anchor systems, is a mandatory requirement of NFPA 1670 for rope technicians. Having said this, it is impossible to discuss one facet of rope rigging and not address all the many other aspects at the same time. A rope system is like a living breathing thing; like any living thing it is composed of many cells and body parts. Yes; these many parts are
separate components, but without a realization of the whole body each component means little. This is the essence of the knowledge base that rope rescue technicians must try to ascend to.
When we study elevated anchors, we are usually addressing the extremely complex subject of edge management. In other words how do we overcome edge trauma, and how to we maintain a coefficient of friction at the edge that best meets our needs? Furthermore, elevated anchors are just that...an anchor system. As with all anchor systems we must have a complete working knowledge of force vector analysis and resultant management. If this sounds like an overly demanding picture of years of advanced detailed study of an overwhelmingly complex subject...than good...we’ve made our point.
So why then, if elevated anchors are so complex, would gin poles or monopods be the way to go? Yes, monopods can be the most unstable of the elevated configurations, yet when the guying systems or back-ties are understood, practiced and perfected... the monopod goes from a science experiment to recess during school. When you consider the weight and gear needed to set up anything like a tripod or bipod, why wouldn't a more expedient solution be a better option? My theory is that the complexity and simplicity has pushed the majority of instructors and technicians away from it... both in the fire service and in SAR. Don't let this happen. This really is easy stuff to grasp.
We cover a ton of this information in various courses within Rigging Lab Academy, so I won't belabor the point here. The future is lightweight, quick set up time and fewer people on scene. As budgets are being cut, there are less people on technical teams (both paid and unpaid), less training time and less gear. I promise you... you don't have time to learn 10 ways to set up an elevated anchor system or AHD. You have maybe 3 systems you can learn efficiently. One of these must be a Gin Pole or Monopod system.
You see, once you understand the basics and then master the monopod guying systems, you then apply your understanding to your other go-to system... the bipod or A-Frame. Now you have a myriad of options as now a combo-system is in your line up. It isn't rocket science, but it does take discipline to stay on task. Stay simple and stay strong. This is no different than two simple pulleys being added to together. The two become one... a compound system. One simple pulley system pulling on another. Boom!!!
Peace on your days
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