Mainline Rescue Systems – A New Course

Written By: Lance Piatt

Mainline Rescue Systems – A New Course

An understanding of mechanical advantage systems — in raising and lower modes — is crucial to all rope rescue technicians. Dealing with Mass and Force is aspects of consequence if not considered during operations. Working with tensioned anchor systems, guying systems, high directionals, load positioning and litter movement all come into play when building mainline systems.

If these are areas of interest to you — or simply areas in your rigging and rope rescue knowledge that you’d like to strengthen — this course is for you.


What is inside the course!

Unit 1: How Forces Are Generated

Unit 2: Mechanical Advantage and Pulley Systems

Unit 3: Moving Systems

Unit 4: Lowering Systems Low to Mid Angle

Unit 5 Lowering Systems – Mid to Steep Angle

Unit 6: Twin Tension Rope System

Unit 7: Winch & Capstan

Unit 8: Wrap Up

How Forces  are Generated and How Best to Analyze the System

So while there are many interchangeable terms systems, what you’ll see here in this course will be what we deem appropriate for our curriculum, but nothing more than that. Having said that, not all systems are equivalent in that a 3:1 MA system in type or configuration, may not be a 3:1 MA inefficiency, meaning theory vs practical. Without further ado, let’s get started!

This course, Mainline (or Rescue Systems) and Operations, will encourage technicians to break down their “work” and thus systems into the following segments.  Not every system that is set up will contain every segment.  The goal is to create an environment the majority of the most called upon systems are built and analyzed in such a manner that when called upon – there is no guesswork.  You know how the system will perform and what to be mindful of should conditions or other factors come into play.

  • Twin Tension Systems
  • Belay Systems (when not using a TTS)
  • Lowering Systems
  • Raising Systems and Mechanical Advantage
  • Reversing A System
  • Knot Pass Through a System
  • Analyzing the System


This course is designed as an overview of topics and elements that will be examined in greater detail.  As you can imagine, raise and lowering systems, twin (two) tension systems, and mechanical advantage are expansive and deserve their own place within the course lineups.

So let’s jump into “working the plan”…  And as with all teaching methods, we’ll endeavor to have as many options and manners of consideration in order to develop the best comprehension… not everyone learns in the same way nor at the same rate.

Mechanical Advantage Theory

Terms and definitions of mechanical advantage systems

Types of pulley systems

How and when to use Long Line MA Systems

How and when to use Block and Tackle Systems

Calculating tension force using the T-Method

And more!


Peace on your Days




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