Graeagle Firefighters Association

Low Angle Rope Rescue Operational Course


Over the last year ten members of the Graeagle Fire Protection District participated with personnel from other local fire districts in a thirty hour Low Angle Rope Rescue Operational (LARRO) Course.  This is a California State Fire Marshal certified course which requires strict adherence to skills testing and documentation.  Topics in the course include rescue rope specifications, knots, harnesses, rescue baskets, load ratings, anchor system setup building, belay techniques, mechanical advantage systems, ascending and descending lines, basic rappelling, patient packaging lashing and rigging, litter attendant considerations, rescue of ambulatory and non-ambulatory persons.   All this is done with an emphasis on maintaining the safety of rescuers, patients, and bystanders and the necessity of teamwork of the rescuers.

Low Angle Rope Rescue is utilized on any slope less than 55 degrees.  Examples where this type of rescue would apply would be a vehicle over an embankment, a hiker or rock climber or animal in trouble in moderate terrain.  The training was prompted by two fairly recent occurrences where Graeagle Fire Personnel had to wait for responses from other agencies to make the rescue which they are now trained to accomplish.

The training was done on flat ground to gain confidence in the necessary techniques before moving to an angled slope for more intense training.  This practice also gave trainees an understanding and appreciation of what a victim experiences when strapped into a Stokes litter basket, placing their trust in the hands of rescuers trying to save them.

The standard procedure is for one person to rappel down to the victim, assess the situation while the other team members prepare the anchor system.  Two other team members will then rappel down with the Stokes Basket.  The victim is strapped into the basket and generally further protected by a back board and cervical collar to immobilize the person and prevent further injury.  The three team members and the victim are then raised as a group back to safety with the use of the fairly complex rope and pulley system.

The minimum rope, harness, and safety equipment necessary to outfit four people (the minimum necessary for a rope rescue team) and a basic Stokes Basket will cost the Graeagle Fire Protection District about $9,000.00.  Donations toward this purchase would be greatly appreciated.



LARRO Recovery

Click here for more pictures of the training activity.


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