A Few of the RLA Foundational Level Courses

Written By: Lance Piatt

Hey all!  We’ve just completed and released the first phase of our Operations Level Foundations Course work.  Thanks so much for your patience in this.

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The process of being functionally successful within a group. Understanding that nothing ever happens without community, Operations becomes of pivotal importance because it is through the team and or group that objectives are accomplished.  All teams need a plan and blueprint.  Here it is.  These courses are “evergreen”… always in transition and becoming stronger with each revision.

  • Equipment – While this course centers on equipment, I’m sure you realize we can’t really show gear “the what”, without showing “the why” and “the how”. This Equipment course will be an ever-expanding portrayal of not just gear and equipment, but gear and equipment in use. This includes various examples of equipment being properly used per the manufacturer’s specifications.
  • Knot Craft – What are knots, bends, and hitches? The standard definition of a knot is a rope intertwined with itself, a bend is the intertwining of two ends of rope, and a hitch is a knot that is dependent on a host object. In the true spirit of the art of knot craft, defining knots deserves a little more than “intertwined rope!”
  • Anchors- Anchors are the most critical component of any rope rescue system. The entire rescue is in jeopardy if the anchors are not reliable. Are your anchor skills up to par?
  • Mechanical Advantage Theory – Mechanical Advantage is a measure of the force multiplication achieved by using a tool. In most cases, this involves using pulleys, but that isn’t always the case. The purpose is to show how we can achieve more work with fewer people AND that sometimes having more people can actually be dangerous. An overeager group of strapping young men and women on a given mechanical advantage system can yield an explosion of power, that when not desired, could actually create problems.
  • Mainline Systems – 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 concern for you — or simply areas in your rigging and rope rescue knowledge that you’d like to strengthen — this course is for you.
  • Belay Systems – In this Rigging Lab Academy exclusive course, Belay Systems, we’re including both team and solo rescues, meaning a traditional belay as well as a lowering system. So while we don’t readily consider a belay system the same as a lower (a true belay is one of “non-tensioned” nature and with the building trend of twin or tandem tension systems on the rise), we thought it would be helpful to think in terms of today as well as tomorrow. So what does a twin tension lower have to do with a solo rescue? Both are now lowering systems and not a belay. As methods continue to evolve, so much the terms and reasoning behind them.
  • Litter Operations – “Rope-based litter operations have become the hallmark of rope rescue teams around the world. The moving of an injured patient over, around and through various terrain types is most often best accomplished by packaging that person in a litter. Modern litters are strong, rigid, and adaptable to many applications. Teams that are serious about patient care and transport will devote a considerable amount of training time perfecting their litter based technique and operations.” – Steve Crandall
  • Personal Skills – Personal skills include, among other things, rappelling, ascending fixed lines, single body belay techniques, pick-off skills, and rope management. We’ll cover most of these topics through this unique Personal Skills course. There are, however, a few like pick-offs that will be covered in more depth in other courses.



Peace on your days!




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