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New rescue rope standards on the way (6/30)

June 30, 2011
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Two new ASTM standards for rescue ropes are being developed by an ASTM International Committee F32 on Search and Rescue.

Rope rescue uses various types of ropes and other specialized equipment to reach victims and return them safely from dangerous urban or wilderness environments. While a basic level ASTM standard for rope rescue does exist (F2752, Guide for Training for Level I Rope Rescue (R1) Rescuer Endorsement), there has been a need for intermediate operations and advanced technician level standards. These needs will be met by two proposed new ASTM standards being developed by ASTM International Committee F32 on Search and Rescue. 

Both ASTM WK33839, Guide for Training for Level II Rope Rescue (R2) Operations Level Endorsement, and ASTM WK33840, Guide for Training for Level III Rope Rescue (R3) Technician Level Endorsement, are under the jurisdiction of Subcommittee F32.03 on Personnel, Training and Education. 

“These new proposed standards will be helpful to rope rescue team members with skills that are advanced beyond the basic awareness level,” says Sarah Stokesbury, an emergency management consultant with SRA International Inc., a contractor for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. 

Stokesbury says that ASTM WK33839 will provide training at the intermediate level of rope rescue. Rope rescue team members trained to the standard, once it has been approved, will possess the skill to support a rope rescue operation in terrain with high exposure and hazard potential, including high angle environments. 

ASTM WK33840 will represent the next level, advanced rope rescue. Those trained to this standard, once it is approved, will have the skills to not only support a rope rescue operation in difficult terrain, but will also have adequate field skills and knowledge to make mission-critical decisions and to direct the operation. 

All interested parties are invited to participate in the ongoing development of ASTM WK33839 and ASTM WK33840.

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