Rescue Rope and Knot Refresher

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Rescue Rope and Knot Refresher
By: Barbara A. Knippenburg
MFRI Field Instructor
Instructor Guide
Title: Rescue Rope and Knot Refresher
Time Required: Three Hours
Teaching/Learning Materials: Rescue Rope, Gloves, Eye Protection
 Vines and Hudson High Angle Rescue Techniques 2nd ed), Chapter 2-5
 Lipke Technical Rescue Riggers Guide, pp. 5-15
Teaching and Learning Level: 3 (Application)
Requisite Knowledge:
 Construction of rescue rope
 Inspection and care of rescue rope
 Rope terminology
 Common rescue knots, hitches, and their uses
 Characteristics of knots and hitches
Requisite Skills:
 Inspect rescue rope for damage
 Tying rescue knots and hitches
 Apply rope terms to practical knot-tying activity
Rescue Rope and Knot Refresher
Attention: (Call To Order)
Motivation: Tying knots is one of the least practiced skills in most departments, yet
when we need them, we struggle with remembering how to tie them. When it comes to
the safety of our members, the rescue of victims, or the protection of equipment, we need
this important skill. “Practice makes perfect” comes to the aid of rescuers functioning in
situations with less than desirable circumstances.
Student Performance Objective (SPO):
Given information from discussion, demonstration, and an opportunity to practice, the
student will be able to identify the construction of rescue rope, demonstrate the inspection
and care of rescue rope, describe the characteristics and types of rescue knots and hitches
and their uses, define rope terminology and demonstrate the tying of rescue knots and
hitches. The student will perform according to the department operating guidelines for
rescue ropes.
Enabling Objectives (EO):
 Review the construction of rescue rope
 Review the inspection and care of rescue rope
 Review the characteristics and uses of rescue knots and hitches
 Review common rope terminology
 Describe and demonstrate the tying of each type of rescue knot and hitch
 Use the rescue knots and hitches in a practical activity
Overview:
 Construction of Rescue Rope
 Inspection and care of rescue rope
 Characteristics and types of rescue knots and hitches
 Uses of rescue knots and hitches
 Common Knot Terminology
 Tying Rescue Knots and Hitches
I. Rescue rope construction
A. Kernmantle
1. Straight fiber core (kern) with braided sheath (mantle)
2. 75% of rope strength comes from the core (kern); 25% from the mantle
3. Mantle protects core from abrasion,dirt, and UV light
4. Types of kernmantle
a. Dynamic kernmantle
1) Used in climbing
2) Stretches 20 to 40 % in use,
3) Easy to tie knots, soft
b. Static kernmantle
1) Common for rope rescue work
2) Stretch is 2 to 3% in use and up to 20% in failure
B. Other types of rope not acceptable for rescue
II. Maintenance
A. Rescue rope used only for life safety, once used for other purposes, can no
longer be used as rescue rope
B. Inspection performed when rope is new, after every use and every three
months
1. Inspect “pic” (single square of mantle) for wear. If any pic shows
greater than 50% wear, downgrade rope to utility
2. If core fibers are exposed, downgrade
3. Feel kern for lumps or narrowing of sections, indicating internal
failure
4. If exposed to corrosive chemicals or shock loaded, downgrade
C. Rope cleaning
1. Check manufacturers recommendations
2. Soak in tub or front-loading washing machine with cool water and mild
soap for synthetics
3. Air dry away from sunlight and fluorescent lights
D. Rope storage
1. Stored dry and without knots
2. Away from chemicals, gas/oil, and exhaust products
3. “Flaked” into rope bag – random patterns not coiled, bottom end of rope
secured to bag
5. Ends of rope should be “dressed” with rope dip or “whipped” to
reduce fraying
III. Characteristics and types of rescue knots
A. Knot characteristics
1. Easily tied and untied
2. Easily identifiable as being tied correctly
3. Once tied, dressed, and set, they remain secure
4. Doesn’t excessively weaken rope
5. Must have a safety knot, unless no free ends
6. Must be pre-loaded
B. Types of rescue knots
1. Stopper/safety knots
a. Keeps end of rope from running through a device, such
as a pulley
b. Figure-8 knot
c. Overhand knot
2. Bends
a. Used to join two ropes
b. Figure-8 knot
3. Loops
a. Figure-8 on a bight
b. Figure-8 reweave
4. Hitches
a. Holds rope to object
b. Clove hitch
c. Split clove hitch
IV Common knot terminology
A. Running part/end: that part of the rope that is used for work such as hoisting,
pulling or belaying
B. Working end: that part of the rope that is used to tie the knot (anchor end)
C. Standing part/end: that part between the working end and the running part/end
D. Bight: formed by simply bending the rope back on itself keeping the sides
parallel, creating a “U” with the rope
E. Round turn/loop: a bight with the ends crossed
F. Loop: A section of rope that crosses over itself
G. Bend: A knot used to join two ropes together
H. Hitch: A knot used to fasten a rope to an object
I. Knot: A manipulation of the rope to allow a purchase (a fixed loop)
J. Splice: A method of weaving together two ropes or the strands of two parts of
the same rope so as to form one
K. Whip: special wrap done on the end of a rope to keep it from unraveling
L. Anchor: An immovable object
V. Tying Rescue Knots and Hitches
A. Overhand knot
1. Used primarily to safety other knots
2. Make a loop in the rope
3. Pull running end through loop and pull
4. Dress the knot
5. Pre-load the knot
B. Figure-8
1. Bend the bight of the rope until it crosses the standing part, forming an
overhand loop.
2. Bend the end of the rope in the opposite direction forming an underhand
loop below the first.
3. Push the end up through the overhand loop
3. Dress the knot
4. Pre-load the knot
C. Figure-8 on a bight
1. Form a 3-4 foot bight of rope
2. Form a small (1ft) round turn with the bight
3. Pass bight back under standing end, up and back through the loop
4. Dress the knot
5. Pre-load the knot
6. Secure tail with a safety
D. Figure-8 re-weave/follow through
1. Tie a figure-8 knot loosely, 3-4 feet from the end of the rope
2. Loop running end of rope around an object
3. Weave end of rope backwards through the figure-8 knot
4. Dress the knot
5. Pre-load the knot
6. Secure tail with a safety
E. Figure-8 bend (follow through)
1. Tie a figure-8 knot, loosely near the end of one rope
2. Weave the end of another rope backwards through the figure-8 knot so
that the ends face in opposite directions
3. Dress the knot
4. Pre-load the knot
5. Secure tail with a safety
F. Clove Hitch
1. Pass the running end around the object
2. Bring running end out underneath the standing part and cross over to
form a half hitch
3. Continue the wrap around the object for an additional turn
4. Bring the running end under the wrap, continuing in the direction of the
wrap
5 Pull the running end and standing end to tighten
6. Dress the hitch
7. Pre-load the hitch
8. Secure tail with a safety knot
G. Split clove hitch
1. Pass the running end to the right of the “T” (farthest from the load),
under the top part of the “T”, back over and to the right of the standing
end of the rope
2. Pass the running end over the standing end of the rope and by the
vertical part of the “T”
3. Pass the running end to the left of the “T” and create a loop, over the
top of the horizontal aspect of the “T”, and then pass under the horizontal
aspect of the “T” and then back up through the loop that was created
4. Pull the running end and standing end to tighten
5. Dress the hitch
6. Pre-load the hitch
7. Secure the tail with a safety knot
8. The tail must continue in the direction of travel and not be reversed on
itself or the hitch will tend to loosen
VI. Practical
A. Have students practice each of the types of knots demonstrated by the
instructor
1. Overhand
2. Figure-8
3. Figure-8 bend
4. Figure-8 on a bight
5. Figure-8 reweave/follow through
6. Clove Hitch
7. Split Clove Hitch
B. Circulate among students, checking for correct tying techniques, dressing of
knot, pre-loading of knot, and safety knot
C. Have students demonstrate various uses for each knot
1. Tying off equipment to raise or lower
2. Securing loads with a tag line
3. Joining ropes
4. Any other examples students may think of
Summary:
Rescue Rope and Knot Review
Student Performance Objective (SPO):
Given information from discussion, demonstration, and an opportunity to practice,
identify the construction of rescue rope, the inspection and care of rescue rope, the
characteristics and types of rescue knots and hitches and their uses, define rope
terminology and demonstrate the tying of rescue knots and hitches. The student will
perform according to the department operating guidelines for rescue ropes.
Review: Have students:
 Describe the construction of Rescue Rope
 Describe and demonstrate the inspection and
care of rescue rope
 Describe the characteristics of rescue knots
and hitches
 Describe the uses of rescue knots and hitches
o Stopper/safety
o Bends
o Loops
o Hitches
 Define each of the terms
o Running part/end
o Working end
o Standing part/end
o Bight
o Round turn
o Loops
o Bend
o Hitch
o Knot
o Splice
o Whip
o Anchor
 Have each student demonstrate one type of
knot and have class identify it and give its uses
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