How is technology and new age specialty equipment changing rope access or rescue?
There are several devices on the market that allow for multiple applications, or needs, to be addressed with one piece of gear. Two devices that I will briefly address are the Petzl I’d and the CMC MPD. The Petzl I’d has been around for several years, and has gained favor with rope access and rescuers alike. It was designed primarily as a rope access device. When this device is used per the directions from the manufacturer, it can be used as a personal descent control device for up to a two person load, as a fixed brake for up to a two person load, a belay device, and finally as a change of direction and progress capture device in a mainline haul system. So with this one device, you get four functions and can look to eliminate some gear such as a brake bar rack, as an example. The CMC MPD; in my opinion, is a revolutionary evolution in the rescue realm. This device was designed from the ground up as a rescue device. As a fixed device, it can function as descent control, belay device, and as a change of direction and progress capture in a mainline haul system. Using this one device can potentially eliminate several pieces of gear. However, neither of these devices can pass a knot without the use of additional equipment. Also, if the FM, (freakin’ magic), stuff in the devices jamb up or break, you need other tools and a plan. So, where does that leave us? I still teach basic techniques using basic, standard, normal, tools first, then introduce the new cool stuff.