It is often convenient to run vertical rope rescue training sessions from building balconies, bridges and other man-made structures. The environment will seem quite controlled, there may be an abundance of seemingly good anchor points and you might get some shelter from the elements on bad weather days.
The linked report, from a rescue team in Delaware USA, details a serious training accident where the sharp edge of a walkway support girder cut through a tape sling being used as a high directional anchor. As well as the obvious lesson, about using edge protection, there are a number of learning points that should be noted:
* The danger of unfamiliar environments. We might use and be around structures every day but they are not where we undertake back country rescues. It is easy to miss that which should be obvious in these situations.
* A second line (independent belay or loaded tandem system) should always be used for anything above low-angle rescues and training.
* All rescue rigging should be ‘double-checked’ by another person
* All members of a team have the responsibility to speak-up if they observe unsafe conditions or practices
* A team leader should never let unsafe situations persist in training for the sake of a learning experience
Follow or paste this link to read the full report: