Lacey Heavy Rescue

FF Ryan Cox from Lacey (WA) Station 31 sent in an interesting write-up of a situation they recently ran into. It involves a 700lb man, a 2nd floor Jacuzzi, and some imagination. Ryan’s full description of the event is listed below as the first comment to this post, it’s a long read, but well worth it.

It may not have been how everyone would have handled it, but that doesn’t make it wrong. Remember, the most important part of the story is that it worked for them…


54 Comments so far

  1. Ryan Cox November 14th, 2008 4:50 pm

    So Lacey Engine 33 gets tapped out to a BLS pt assist, report of a 700 lb. man stuck in his bathtub . So naturally E33 taps out E31 for assistance (TK31 not currently staffed ) All units arrive and find that indeed it is a 700 lb. man stuck in his bathtub upstairs in a 2 story residential. YIKES! Patient states that he was weighed a few years back and was 580, and now thinks he’s hovering around 700. Easily the largest man I’ve ever seen….easily. So what to do…

    Patient face up initially and thinks that if we can get him face down and lift his torso vertical he can help himself up. So first lesson learned…tub is a large jacuzzi style tub walled off on 3 sides. To get him rolled over we filled the tub up as far as it would go, rolled him over and let the water back out. It sounds easy on email, not so easy in real world. Long story short, we could get his torso vertical but he no longer had the strength to squat his 700 lb. frame. Back to square one…

    Patient is now face-down in tub, try the “Patient Handling Assistance Provider” or PHAT tarp. Now our PHAT tarp is rated to 1500 lbs. Cool right? No, using the tarp in the normal orientation was out of the question due to pt’s shear width. So let’s try the tarp the other way, perpendicular to his body. Tub filled, paste the tarp to his back and roll. Couple of problems now, no room for manpower and handle orientation is all fouled up. As soon as we applied the muscle, you guessed it, handles start ripping off. By this time the pt is pretty shaken up and embarrassed. Now it’s time to think outside the box…

    Come-along off of an anchor made with the roof trusses? We’re essentially talking a high angle operation. Come-along = no redundancy, testing standards and sometimes hard to operate. Next option…..ropes. I’m licking my chops cuz I’ve been evaluating anchors and building a system in my head from the moment I laid eyes on our problem. Green light! Battalion Chief and a firefighter head back to headquarters to pick up the Truck. During that time we had a chance to check out the attic space (minimal) and various structures in, of and around the house for anchors. We finally decided to go through the roof to our aerial and run a true 2 rope system. We Spotted the aerial, 60′ of stick out…cool. E33 covered the pt with a tarp and took one truss bay worth of drywall and insulation center mass over the pt. perfect placement. E31 cut out a 1′ by 1′ hole in the roof for access.

    So we’ve got a 105′ Pierce HD stick, I feel very confident at this point with our anticipated loads and ratings, but I knew we would not have a lot of wiggle room with certain components. We anchored our system at the base of the aerial with both main and belay lines. I ran a 3:1 system on top of the sections and over the Lyfe-pulley system to the patient and used a Tandem Prusik belay. I knew with the weight of our load that a 3:1 was going to kick the crap out of our haul team. What I was more concerned with though was more hardware passing by rungs of the ladder getting hung up and stalling the rescue or causing a dead leg. Sorry haul team.

    Rigging the pt- On TK31 we carry a 4500 WLL net designed for large animal rescue. This fit the bill perfectly for our pt. The only butt scratching came was when trying to rig the net so that when loaded it didn’t constrict the patient causing severe respiratory problems. So I rigged a load sharing anchor “style” attachment point to each side that would spread the load to 4 handles on each side independently without drawing them all together. 2 yellow webbing on each side did the trick. For the attachment point to the main and belay I used a large steel pear shaped carabineer that was able to collect both webbings without tri-loading it.

    The main objective with this system was to lift the pt out of the tub, inside crews deflect the pt over to a wheel chair set next to the tub. Because of this I did not set up a lowering system. I did rig in a LRH in the mainline just in case, but that’s it. So we’ve got 4 firemen inside with the patient, 1 at the tip of the aerial acting as “edge”, 1 on belay, 1 minding the progress capture prusik on the 3:1, 5 on the haul team, and I took a modified “safety officer, rigger, rescue group supervisor” role. Patient got lifted with no incident, had the progress prusik minded, then the haul team lowered.

    The haul was tough but not unmanageable. We raised him approx. 3′ and lowered approx. 1’……ALOT of monkeying around for 4′ of overall movement, but the bottom line is everyone working on scene still has full use of their back and no time loss! Sorry for the long windage but that’s the only way I know how to relay it.

    HUGE THANKS to all involved. Everyone had one or two ideas that ended up being critical for the success of this call. If we hadn’t handled this like the professionals we are, it would be just one more piece of ammunition for the haters. Nice work.

    Lessons learned-
    1. Having a Battalion officer there was huge for the “this is what we’re doing now get it done” aspect. Out of the box calls, in my experience, can get quagmired with opinions after awhile.

    2. Filling a bathtub with water helps to move a 700 lb. man around!

    3. Our Lyfe-Pulley system is set up with the pulleys about 1.5′ apart. I was worried that with our loads the torsion stress on the ladder, especially during belay activation, would be too great. So I ran the lines straight up the middle and over the bar and just used it as an edge. Also the Lyfe-Pulley is only rated for 500 lbs. Due to the situation, fairly static nature of the incident and my confidence in our equipment’s testing standards I felt comfortable using it. Did I have to? No. But I did and we’re going to test it before it goes back in service.

    4. We need to train more folks in rope rescue. More techs, more ops.

    5. Preaching to the choir a little here, but know your equipment, its ratings, WLL’s. This will allow you to use them in unplanned for situations.

    6. The importance of training is shown at unexpected times!

  2. john November 14th, 2008 5:11 pm


    What is the tip rated for in terms of lbs? You may want to get the ladder tested to make sure nothing shifted, ect….

    Just food for thought, I think i would have used a halligan or two (for safety) and buried the points into the roof, and put the load (literally) across the haligans spanning two beams in the roof support structure (I dont know if you can picture what I am saying…sorry)

    Halligan arent going to bend on you with perhaps a 3/1 pulley “Z” system..

    Just options bro….that was a heavy weight call…


  3. forgotten November 14th, 2008 7:53 pm

    This once again reinforces my beliefs that fat people never get stuck, sick or hurt on the 1st floor.

    Also, I was picturing all of this in my head and the entire time wondering what the tub was made of? Metal or Poly? Did you consider cutting the tub away from him in pieces as opposed to going the route you did?

    Not picking, just curiousity.
    Can’t imagine that many were interested in partaking in a meal after this run.

    Submit him for the Biggest Loser.

  4. Bull November 14th, 2008 7:54 pm

    I have been talking about calls similar to this with my own guys. Not only are call volumes increasing,which is normal, but what (atleast in my City, and I believe every where else) is the size of the people we are running on everyday. Everyone knows obesity brings on health issues which bring on more visits from us. As you stated, sometimes you cannot get enough hands physically to the patient to lift him/her with proper body mechanics. You must get creative. If that means cutting a hole in the roof, turning the patient into a bouy, removing a wall, calling a forklift or crane to do the job safely, then so be it. We all try to to keep the patient’s modesty intact. However it is not worth getting someone hurt. Kudos for handling the situation with some aggressiveness. I do have some questions as to the rating of your arial, but you know your rig and it’s limitations. Maybe since it wasn’t an emergency an actual crane might be reasonable?! Either way, good job.

    Get Some.

  5. Drew Smith November 14th, 2008 10:42 pm

    Great Job! Many people would have tried “not to damage anything” and wasted a lot of time. We did not create this problem and as you noted, the patient began to become exhausted. Time is critical. What seems like a “stick fat guy” can become a critically ill patient who cannot adequately ventilate himself: positional asphyxiation.
    I did not know Pierce made the Life Pulley set up so I looked it up. San Diego Fire has a nice manual on it on thier web site.

  6. Evan Swartz November 15th, 2008 12:03 am

    I agree with Forgotten, fat people ALWAYS get hurt on the second floor never the first or on the front lawn. But anyway awesome story and something everyone can learn from. Be safe, god bless.

  7. 16Capt November 15th, 2008 10:26 am

    Our department’s bariatric calls have increased almost tenfold over the last five years. The size has increased as well. Our average patient weight is around 600lbs for these calls, with the largest being around 1000. And fat people do get hurt or sick on the first floor. they just happen to get that way in a part of the house thats the least accessible, especially when you have to carry a patient prone.

  8. MetroMedicFF November 15th, 2008 10:27 am

    Personally, I don’t like it. I don’t like using an aerial tip as a high anchor for anything more than a 200-250# person. When you haul on a 3:1 with a 700# load, you’re putting much more than 700# on that tip. Remember F=ma. In order to get 700# moving, you need a force to overcome gravity as well as an acceleration to get the guy moving. It’s bad science.
    I’m not knocking you guys for doing it. Unfortunately, this is one of those things that reinforces using it again. “Hey these guys used an aerial to lift 700#, we can do it too.” I bet if you talked to Pierce engineers, they would give you a serious scolding.

  9. Tasmo November 15th, 2008 10:37 am

    I’m curious about the hole you cut in the roof… Who patched it?

  10. DMAN72 November 15th, 2008 11:36 am


  11. Drew Lyman November 15th, 2008 12:23 pm

    God bless. (Speachless after that story.)

  12. Gary Rauch November 15th, 2008 12:59 pm

    Ryan, Nice job! You did what you had to do with the equipment that was available. If the ladder was overloaded SO WHAT! Have it checked. And keep using your imagination on these type of calls and having more options to use in the tool box. BE SAFE!

  13. Nate999 November 15th, 2008 2:22 pm

    In the Pierce manual for the Lyfe Pulley system, they rate it as the same as the tip load when the lines are run on top of the aerial as was done here. If it is simply used as a high point COD (i.e., they had been pulling down from inside the house/under the aerial) then the rating is somewhat reduced. Son’t know if that makes any sense, but the Pierce manual explains it better than I can here. Anyway, good thinking for the situation encountered. Probably not a bad idea to get the ladder and pulley bar checked, too. Stay safe.

  14. Matt G November 15th, 2008 2:51 pm

    Great Job Ryan!

    I like the way you specified the number of haulers. I assume this was a decision you made to self limit the amount of force they were able to create. With a 3:1 it would be very difficult for 5 trained haulers to overload the tip(assuming 750lb tip rating).

    Metro Medic Wrote:
    “When you haul on a 3:1 with a 700# load, you’re putting much more than 700# on that tip. Remember F=ma.”

    Can you elaborate please. What is “much more”? It seems to me that the acceleration would be very small in this case.

    I do think F=ma would come into play if something happened and the system was shock loaded. (ie belay)

    That leads me to my one thought (then I’m gonna go recover) … Was the belay running up over the tip? and … Would it have been possible to run the belay from a different place and take the ladder out of the system? That way if the belay comes into play the ladder doesn’t take a hit.

    Again … great job and a fine example of knowing your equipment and putting it to use.

    I like the thoughts about using a crane and submitting him to The Biggest Loser. 🙂


  15. Jamie Morelock November 15th, 2008 3:40 pm

    700 lbs is 700 lbs regardless of which raising system (1:1, 3:1, 5:1…)you use, it only reduces the effort required to move the object.

    As for cutting the roof and removing a little sheet rock, it is a much cheaper and easier repair than destroying the tub and having to replace and install a new one.

    Great job on the rescue! You guys should consider writing this up as an article for Fire Engineering’s Heavy Rescue column.

  16. MetroMedicFF November 15th, 2008 4:58 pm

    ” Can you elaborate please. What is “much more”? ”

    I don’t have the exact numbers but think of it this way. You have a 700# person. At rest, the person exerts a certain force due to the acceleration of gravity. In this case it’s approximately 3136 Newtons.

    In order to move that person, you must accelerate them. Not only must you do that, you must also overcome friction in the rigging with comparable acceleration. All of these accelerations put more force on the anchor. Force that can be much greater than just the mass of the patient.

    Hey, it worked and nobody was hurt. But I’m not sure I would do it again. A crane would have been a much better choice. And as far as putting a belay on a tip…NEVER, NEVER, NEVER. That’s a shock load that could easily exceed the limitations of the stick.

  17. gary hicks November 15th, 2008 6:07 pm

    Just want to say a one thing………..AWESOME.

  18. Greenebaum31 November 15th, 2008 7:15 pm

    Nice work B-shift! Great idea Cox!

  19. Adam Miceli November 15th, 2008 7:17 pm

    Nice job! No doubt you guys thought outside the box and got the job done. Though, I too would question the use of the ladder tip. Given this was not a true medical emergency, the benefit may not have outweighed the risk of potential damage. Not all 105 HD ladders have a 750 lb. tip rating, that’s an option requiring another 2 ft of jack spread. I’d hope this was the 750 model vs. the normal 105 HD that’s only rated to 500 lbs. Peirce does offer a 2:1 safety factor so you seem to have been safe to get the task accomplished but as others noted, it might be worth having the unit tested since you may have exceeded the stated rated load.

  20. Matt G November 15th, 2008 7:47 pm

    No offense Metro,

    But I think you may be misapplying F=ma. We already know F … It’s 700 lbf. What we call “weight” is the mass of a person with gravity working on it. What you gave us was the weight converted to Newtons. 700lbf = about 3100 N. That means we are still only lifting 700 pounds. There will also be an acceleration when we get them moving but it will not be “much greater” than the original 700 lbs.

    And I agree, we have to overcome friction in our system but this is only felt by our haulers and our main line anchor, not the tip.

    Are you thinking about the stick being used as a high directinal? In which case the forces on the tip would be greatly increased.

    I don’t mean this as an attack. I just want to explore the thought. If there was a huge load on the stick I’m sure Ryan would be the first one in line to hear, learn and try and understand it.


  21. Ryan November 15th, 2008 8:01 pm

    Hey guys thanks for the comments and critiques. First off I’m just stoked that this story made it here, I learned a ton from this and I hope others can as well. This site continually kicks a$$! Ok questions and comments.

    John, Thanks bro! Our aerial is rated to 750 lbs. dry full extension any position in 50 mph winds. We initially thought about some 4×4’s spreading the load out across the roof structure but the system i was building in my head got too complicated for the equipment, manpower and anchors we had. Given the situation I’d do it again.

    Forgotten, the tub was fiberglass. We through around cutting the tub but a couple of things came up. Cost to the pt (family is in severe financial times), the biggest (no pun) problem was the mechanics of it. The guy was just so huge that the only way you could’ve pulled it off was to pry him away from the tub, cut it out and then try to hold him in place while you figure out how not to drag him acrosse the shattered tub. It just didn’t sound like a winner at the time. Those were our thoughts.

    Bull- I dig you’re idea about a crane. That’s an avenue I’ll look into and see what kind of response times we can expect from them. A pure high change of direction would make for a pretty simple system.

    Drew- One of my fellow rope nerds found that San Diego site as well. From that I picked up a good tidbit. That is having a 2:1 on your pt tied back into the aerial in addition to the 3:1. That would’ve made me a 6:1 (all theoretical mind you) That would’ve allowed me to free up people from the haul team.

    Metro- I respect your comments, but here’s my take. I don’t shy away from limits. Our systems are all built and tested to greater standards. I could talk all day about it because I love learning about it, but I don’t have all day. In regards to Pierce, we called them the next day and spoke to an engineer, these were his words “As long as all alarms and safety devices were still operational and you had no overload alarms (which we didn’t) then you’re golden, no need to test anything” Nuff said?

    Matt G.- I would would have loved to use another point for a belay. I think the only option would have been an anchor over the roof line to a tree or vehicle. Given that I’m not sure how the line would have interfaced with the roof sheeting during an activation. So in that respect I’m not sure if it would have been an option.

    I agree that a belay activation would have been traumatic to our aerial, no question. We all know about F=MA right. Now I said that this pt was uninjured, and he was, but in his condition we still had to treat him with due dilligence. He was getting more and more exhausted and scared by the minute. These pt’s can go from tired to exhausted to crumping in a matter of minutes. My thoughts. Thanks for the comments and suggestions, I continue to learn from this call and I hope others can as well.

  22. MetroMedicFF November 15th, 2008 9:47 pm

    Matt G–no offense taken. Any force applied to the haul (including that required to overcome friction) is also applied to the anchor and to all components of the system. Perhaps the term “much more” was vague and may have seemed an exaggeration. But remember, acceleration is exponential, not linear.

    I have been doing some research on this lately. It appears that we are better off using the tip as a COD rather than an anchor. Seems like the forces are better distributed. I do have an engineer friend that I intend on running this by. I’ll report back if he decides to run the numbers. Let’s just say that on a COD, as long as your angle is acute at the tip, the force applied to the tip is less than the load. If you have an obtuse angle, the force would in fact be greater. But you wouldn’t run into an obtuse angle unless you were operating the boom below grade which would be silly anyway.

    The points to take away from all this are if you use your aerial/ladder/whatever as a high point anchor or COD, use it at the highest angle possible with minimal extension. If you can, use it only as a COD and not an anchor. And remember, keep all your loads in line with the tip. Torsion loads are BAD. And if you insist on using it as a belay (which is bad too), make sure the belay is kept taut to avoid excessive shock loads. Although I would suspect the Pierce engineer would frown on that too!!

    Y’all stay safe and again, I’m not throwing stones at the crews that accomplished this mission safely. If because of this incident, you research and discover a local crane operator that would be willing to help in a pinch…that’s outstanding!! Just more crap in the toolbox ;>)

  23. 2dawgs November 15th, 2008 9:56 pm

    Strong work guys. Once again we have a outside the box call that required outside the box thinking. I like how you noted that the “pt was becoming embarrassed” Although the pt’s health is the main concern, sometimes a pt’s emotional state is something to keep in mind, which you all did a outstanding job with. Ok enough ems talk. I will be keeping this write up in the back of my head for sure. Thanks for adding it to this site

  24. Prybar November 15th, 2008 10:09 pm

    Nice work Matt G in elaborating on F=MA, my physics professor is in total agreement…I personally believe that a crane is way overkill and logistically a nightmare (what about $$), not needed unless the subject is obviously over the tip load of your dept’s aerial device and his/her situation is completely static. Maybe a better alternative would be finding a neighboring department with an aerial platform device (most 1000+lbs), even if it took an hour for them to respond you would still be better off than a crane in my opinion

    I’ve had several dealings with apparatus’ engineers and it seems most respond just as Ryan described it. Use it to its posted limit, be assured there is a safety factor built in and a safety on the safety factor.

  25. Ryan November 15th, 2008 10:36 pm

    Metro, help me pick up a little of what you’re layin’ down. Anchor of the rope system at the base of the aerial (bottom rung), main line comes up the aerial and over the pulley at the tip. Explain to me how this applies more force to the aerial than using it as a high COD. From your explanation it seems like your confusing angles used in anchoring ie. wrap 3 pull 2 with COD angles. Make sense? I think if we had rigged this as a high COD we would have been screwed just on angles alone. The closer together your COD lines get to each other the more force is applied to the COD. I love this stuff!!!!

    FYI: My Lt and myself are putting together a training ppt. on this call. When it’s done I’d be happy to share it.

  26. Matt G November 15th, 2008 10:54 pm

    Well Said Ryan,

    If used as a true COD you would have increased the load … You would have placed somewhere between 1.5 and 2 times the load on the tip. Then you would have been in the Chiefs office doing what B Shifters do … Blaming someone else. 🙂 Sorry couldn’t resist.

    Metro … What you have recommended is potentially dangerous. It is pretty well established that placing a true COD at the tip is a recipe for disaster unless the crew understands that they will be multiplying forces. As Ryan said, I think you may be confusing COD angles with angles in anchoring.


  27. MetroMedicFF November 15th, 2008 11:14 pm

    “Anchor of the rope system at the base of the aerial (bottom rung), main line comes up the aerial and over the pulley at the tip. Explain to me how this applies more force to the aerial than using it as a high COD.”

    It doesn’t. I don’t think that’s what I said. Sorry if there is confusion. If I’m interpreting what I have read recently regarding this configuration, the load is distributed rather than having the entire load on the tip.

    An acute angle (less than 90 degrees) does not increase the load. An angle greater than 90 does increase the load. When I said highest angle, I was referring to the highest angle of elevation on the ladder, not the COD, i.e. keep the boom as close to vertical as you can.

    Visualize it this way. A rope coming up the ladder from the base to the tip and then down to the load actually creates a compression load on the ladder, if we’re at an acute angle. A portion of the load is creating a force that wants to push the ladder assembly together. The closer the angle to vertical, the more compression force is applied to the ladder.

  28. Ryan November 15th, 2008 11:54 pm

    Thanks for clarifying, I see what you’re talking about. My only thought is that you can rig it how your talking, with a high COD or my way using the base to anchor and the angle of your aerial will play a role in the overall load seen by the tip. With that said, rigged your way the higher you raise the stick the worse the angles are going to get at your COD potentially almost doubling the load seen at the tip. And how much of that will be absorbed by compression into the aerial? That’s for the propeller heads but I don’t think it will overcome the poor COD angles. Follow me? Correct me if you think I’m full of it cuz it won’t be the first time!

  29. Evan Swartz November 16th, 2008 2:37 am

    Hey look a use for hose on a truck company.

  30. DOB November 16th, 2008 3:40 am

    Outstanding work gentlemen!

  31. Dave November 16th, 2008 10:28 am

    In our business options are a very good thing. Nice call. Big people do seem to challenge our creativity, equipment, backs.
    We have one 600#+ male who likes to fall down in the shower stall. Nice guy, but huge. Jello with legs. The last time we used air bags, a pair of backboards (as ramp/levers) and a lot of long straps (as handles) to move him to where we could get him up. Shamu sheets are definitely not made strong enough. A tub would have made it a LOT tougher.
    We discussed taking the wall behind him. Maybe next time.

  32. Jon November 16th, 2008 11:53 am

    Excellent solution. I guess you guys are now well aware of what it feels like to try and get a grip on a wet fat guy, its like trying to get a dog in a bathtub, not fun!

  33. Big D November 16th, 2008 1:32 pm

    Good job on the situation you had and the outcome you got. I keep reading all the comments from everyone about using a crane instead of the ladder, and working loads of systems, and why didn’t you try this instead of that ideas. Short and sweet: YOU WEREN’T THERE, so don’t bash or add to something you have no idea about!!!!!!! What ever happened to saying job well done, or what would you have done diffrent to make everyone at the scene including the patient more efficent? Hey everybody went home with straight backs and the patient is still alive, as for the equipment, the Pierce rep is correct, if you didn’t get an alarm then its ok. REMEMBER PEOPLE THE TRUCKS BUILT TODAY ARE BUILT FOR A 1 YEAR OLD MONKEY TO OPERATE!!!!!!!!! And why do I say this? Read the previous comments and you will understand.

  34. MetroMedicFF November 16th, 2008 2:09 pm

    Easy Big D…nobody has NOT said job well done. I will say this, putting this particular call aside, it’s very dangerous to get caught up in the “nobody was hurt so we must have done it right” mentality.

    Didn’t the Chief in Charleston say something akin to “hey, we been doing it this way for years and we’ve always gotten the job done. There’s no reason to use Incident Command….”

    No, it’s not okay to do something just because the alarm didn’t sound. Those alarms are electronic devices prone to failure. I see them fail everyday I go to work. If the 1 year old monkey is fully capable of understanding the limitations of the truck it’s operating without relying on gadgets, great, let him drive the truck. Otherwise, let’s continue to discuss various methods of accomplishing a task because one size doesn’t always fit all.

  35. Jake November 16th, 2008 8:32 pm

    Great job on this call! The above comments prove the need for further classroom and hands-on training with rope systems. This debate could just as easily have taken place on-scene and led to inaction had their not been someone to stand up and say “this is what we are going to do.” Great job!

  36. 564 November 16th, 2008 8:47 pm

    Very impressive brothers. We have a 105′ Pierce with a similar rope setup. My only question is from the second picture…

    What’s the purpose of the hose? Edge protection?

    I’m curious because we drill to use our aerial for taking people off of a roof so we don’t have any hose rigged like that.

    Be Safe.

  37. Ryan November 16th, 2008 9:51 pm

    The hose is used by the operator for tip location. No use for the rope system. Just helps with depth perception when putting the stick up to certain roofs and windows.

  38. Jed November 16th, 2008 11:10 pm

    Ryan. The hose on the tip is a great help. We filled ours with sand & sewed on the same reflective striping as on our turnouts for greater stability & low light visibility.

  39. Ryan November 16th, 2008 11:49 pm

    That’s a great idea, we had one like that as well. It got trashed so we just went the simple route.

    Question to all- Anybody know if someone out there puts on a bariatric rescue course?

    Another- Anybody been to or seen a ropes class that incorporated aerials into the cirriculum?

  40. Evan Swartz November 17th, 2008 12:48 am

    I know some trench rescue class show how to incorporate an aerial for a rope rescue.

  41. Scott-theropenerd November 17th, 2008 1:08 am

    All of the comments have been great to read and often educational to most of the people that get on here. Mr. Cox you did a great job, obviously know your WLL’s and thought out this complex situation very well.

    Metromedic: There is a good class out there on Arial Dynamics to help you better understand the load principles when using a ladder truck. There is also some good books on physics of rope rescue and engineering rope systems. There is also a class called Physics in Rope Rescue Systems offered by DART Rescue Inc. I am sure it’s a good class and well worth taking before educating people with nonsence.

    Nice Work Lacey Fire.

  42. hand banana November 17th, 2008 9:49 am

    Wow, great job Ryan and company. As complicated as it may seem on here. I think you guys did the simplist and quickest job available.

  43. MetroMedicFF November 17th, 2008 7:47 pm

    “I am sure it’s a good class and well worth taking before educating people with nonsence.”

    Ahhh, excuse me. What was nonsense? Or as you put it, nonsence? Constructive criticism is always welcome. Insults are not. Unless you can identify the nonsense. There are classes in spelling too. I’ll meet you at school.

  44. Ryan November 17th, 2008 11:08 pm

    Well I’m glad we got our token internet insults out of the way!

    I will say this though metro alot of your comments have an air about them that you’re the only one that knows what he’s talking about. I value your opinion as just that, your opinion.

  45. MetroMedicFF November 18th, 2008 9:38 am

    Well I’m sorry if you think there is an “air” about my comments. Not my intention. I’ll try to be more sensitive in the future!! LOL
    As far as being right or wrong, draw out the forces and resolve them on paper. That’s the best I can suggest. Like I said above, relying on the “we’ve been doing it this way for years, nobody’s gotten hurt” theory has done just that, gotten people hurt.

  46. RT158 November 18th, 2008 5:43 pm

    Just adding a few more comments.

    By nature, the simple fact of raising the aerial begins to apply forces to it. Changes in angles, elevations, ground conditions, etc. all apply some degree of forces to the aerial.
    Adding a haul system, belay system, C.O.D. or any other rope system to the ladder adds to those forces as well.
    The use of mech. adv. systems can, and will, add to the forces being applied the aerial device. By decreasing the amount of energy we expend to raise our victim, we may not realize any damage was caused. The ladder used in the incident has a 750 lb. tip load, the victim is 700 lbs, add the weight of the needed equipment (rope, hardware, the Lyfe pulley on the tip of the ladder)the weight of the aerial itself, it all starts to add up so we really can’t argue the point that some form of forces do not come in to play.

    The use of the crane is an excellent idea. We should never overlook the resources available to us from outside sources. Their can be a few problems associated with this as well. Everyone knows the response time is going to be much greater then expected when we need it the most. Crane co’s are rarely involved with emergency services responses.
    We should also be thinking where is it coming from, is it going to fit and will there be enough room to set it up where I need it, can the operator accept being told what to do, how we want to rig our equipment and how to position HIS machine, etc. Cranes are not as readily available as we would like them to be so these plans need to made well ahead of time in the form of an agreement with the crane co. or a rental business.

    After being involved with situations very similar to the one described, Ryan, you guys did what needed to be done and did it well.
    Again, just throwing a few thoughts and comments out as they came to mind while reading all of the other posts.

  47. Gio November 27th, 2008 3:45 am

    Excellent job I happen to live in that area, wasn’t sure exactly what was goin on, but you guys definitely did a great job. PS: sorry you all couldnt get through to the voters this election.

  48. Ryan November 27th, 2008 9:52 pm

    Thanks for the compliments and thoughts brother.

  49. Alex January 5th, 2009 10:50 am

    I am a member of a volunteer dept. in upstate new york. We have a 1989 sutphen 100′ tower ladder which we have used on numerous occations for patient removal. Usually the patient is placed in a stokes basket next to the nearest window then tied off to the bucket of the tower. The patient is taken out of the window and lowered to the ground. This tactic works very well when limited manpower is available and space is tight (usually stairways). I’d post pics if i knew how.

    I dont think we’ve had had a patient quite as big as the OP’s experience. great job

  50. Bitt February 7th, 2009 6:02 pm

    Depending on space available under the patient, an airbag may also be a good bet. We’ve used them on heavy patients for lifting. Again- make sure the patient’s safety is not an issue. A arizona vortex or some other sort of tripod system would also work well, depending on space available in the room.

  51. Schmitty August 2nd, 2014 12:39 am

    I love going back 6 years and reading old posts I’d forgotten about! We just had 500 pounder in a bathtub stuck face down with possible arm fracture after slipping while showering. Two things I wish I had remembered from this write-up; 1) big boys are buoyant, we definitely could have helped ourselves out by filling the tub with water, and 2) there are a hundred ways to do a job but a few are better, more efficient, than others. Thanks Ryan, beautiful write up. I finally realize too what John said in one of the earliest comments about burying a halligan or two and running parallel to the ridge just at or over the cut hole and then running the main and belay over those. BTW I would love to get that powerpoint if I could since we just had a similar call and had a much different method of attack which involved the Mega Mover Tarp and too much awkward lifting. Thanks again brother.

  52. Schmitty August 4th, 2014 4:38 pm

    Check out this breakdown of resultant forces and how to minimize them when using an aerial as an artificial high directional

  53. Steve Judge June 30th, 2017 7:20 pm

    I am trying to gather information regarding safely using an aerial (stick or platform) as a suitable high anchor point. Concrete information is hard to come by! Anybody have solid info on the ratings of tying off to rungs of an aerial to use as anchor points? I know the platform eye hooks are rated , but not much info is available on other attachment points.
    I’m looking at set ups for rappelling out of a platform, or setting up a high directional point for lifting, etc.

  54. Jamie Morelock January 1st, 2018 12:33 pm


    Get me your e-mail and I will send you the information our Special Operations Bureau has on this subject.


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