Counter balance rescue techniques

Counter balance rescue techniques tick many boxes for Complex Rescue situations.

The concept of Complex Rescue refers to the rescue matrix used in the Pocket Guide for Aerial Rescue a couple of years back, also was published in Arborist News, Baumzeitung and Arb Climber.

It is also a concept I use in Aerial Rescue training sessions…

Rescue Matrix

This matrix differentiates between level one situations, which is a self-rescue by the injured person. Level two, or Basic Rescue is when a second person needs to assist the injured person due to injury and/ or damage to their climbing system. Level three, Complex Rescue, will be the case when a system is under tension and the casualty therefore needs to be lifted before a descent is possible. There are a wide range of scenarios where this may be necessary, such as rescue from an access line, ladder or stem.

Over the years my position in regards to rescue strategies has shifted. Where initially I felt that dedicated rescue kits and systems were the best route to take, today I feel that the best course of action will involve techniques, configurations and tools that you are deeply familiar with, as these are less susceptible to errors that can occur as a consequence of stress and tunnel vision.

Counter-balance rescues do exactly this, employing a re-configured work positioning system with additional friction added in for the pick off part of the rescue.

Long haul rescue

The long-haul rescue shown above is one example for a counter-balance rescue.

The basic concept of counter balancing the casualty with your own body weight was first brought to my attention by Salim Annebi from France and Jörn Benk published an article on it at a similar point in time in the German Baumzeitung and it has constantly  evolved since.