Highline Overview: A Case Study

Written By: Lance Piatt

Highline Overview: A Case Study

Being prepared (prepped), is not an option in the field of rescue nor in the field of rigging for rescue. It’s THE key to either locking up or unlocking opportunities and options. Not being appropriately prepared is a leading cause of failure. NFPA 1670 stated the following:

“The AHJ shall conduct a hazard analysis and risk assessment of the response area and shall determine the feasibility of conducting technical rescue. Potential hazards and their likelihood of causing an incident shall be identified. The hazard analysis and risk assessment shall be included an evaluation of the environmental, physical, social and cultural factors influencing the scope, frequency and magnitude of a potential technical rescue incident and the impact they might have on the ability of the AHJ to respond to and to operate safety at those incidents.”

Training at a high level prepares the individual and the to perform at the necessary levels. Fellow Rigging Lab Academy Instructor, Pat Rhodes, adds:

“The message we are trying to convey is, when the real technical rescue call comes in, the stress level is at a peak level, conditions are most likely at their worse, and chaos rules. To avoid being sucked into this turmoil vacuum, the technical rescue technician must train at a substantially higher skill level than those that are required to perform the actual rescue. The technician who routinely trains to a higher level will easily and by design, default to the most straightforward, efficient, and safest technique possible when the real deal happens.”

Note the simple graph analogy above. Each block of the graph represents those things that are instrumental in performing a successful technical rescue. These blocks include personnel, equipment, training, and leadership. Each level is supported by the larger and more substantial level immediately below. The Rescue Level is supported by training level blocks that are more extensive and demanding higher skills. The Training Level is supported by the instructor level. Conversely, these instructors must be held to a higher level of understanding and performance than what is required at the training level. The Instructor Level is reliant on continual input and support from the Research and Development Level. Each level drives and influences the other levels. Indeed, this profession is never stagnant, it is always changing. Our calling should be to ride this wave of evolution and become the best technical rescuers possible.


This project is in conjunction with three other agencies who are all called on to perform a particular rescue at this venue when the whistle blows. Staging the evacuation ahead of time is part of the plan.



Peace on your Days



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