Roco Rescue



Roco Instructor receives US Marshals Officer of the Year Award

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Cop receives national award from U.S. Marshals for response to August shooting.

We are very proud to announce that Roco Chief Instructor Terry Addison was awarded “Law Enforcement Officer of the Year” from the US Marshals Service last week in Washington, DC.

The Director’s Honorary Awards are given to recognize employees who perform in an exemplary manner and give dedicated service to the missions of the Marshals Service. A Director’s Award is the highest award given by the United States Marshals Service. In addition to teaching for Roco, Terry works for both the South Salt Lake City Fire and Police Departments. Congratulations, Terry, we are very proud of you!

To read the story in The Salt Lake Tribune click here.

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What does ASTM say about Rope Inspection?

Monday, June 06, 2011

ASTM F1740 provides very comprehensive guidelines for users of rescue rope.  The title “Standard Guide for Inspection of Nylon, Polyester, or Nylon/Polyester Blend, or Both Kernmantle Rope” indicates it is specifically intended to guide the user in the inspection of these rescue ropes, and is not intended to be a guide in the selection and use of rescue ropes.

However, the information included in F1740 is not to be considered the only criteria for evaluating the serviceability of rescue rope.

One of the first considerations the user needs to address is the selection of an experienced individual who is deemed qualified to perform and document the rope inspections.

While F1740 does provide excellent guidelines, the user and/or the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) may feel it necessary to augment the information in F1740 with additional training.

Fortunately, our friends at PMI Rope have produced a very comprehensive webinar on Rope Care which includes specific information on  rope inspections. This 61 minute webinar is presented by Mr. Steve Hudson, president of PMI Rope. Steve has an unsurpassed background and knowledge base regarding the manufacture and use of rescue rope and his presentation should more than satisfy your need to augment F1740.

Click here for a link to PMI’s webinars. Use the scroll down on the left and select the 3/2/10 presentation titled “Rope Care.” The information that addresses rope inspection begins at the 24:30 time mark of the presentation. offers PMI rescue rope for rescue professionals. Please contact Roco at 800-647-7626 if you have any further questions.
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Trench Collapse Fatality: Las Vegas, NM

Friday, June 03, 2011

What does getting struck by a pickup traveling 45 mph and being in the path of a trench wall collapse have in common? The outcome is typically not going to be positive…

A six cubic yard section of trench wall that collapses into an 8 foot deep trench has the weight and speed of a full size pickup traveling 45 mph.

These forces are the reason why a proactive and compliant trench safety program is paramount to your safety as a worker or as a rescuer!

Unfortunately, there was another tragic incident last week in Las Vegas, New Mexico, in which two workers were killed following a trench cave-in. Dirt buried 49-year-old Frank Romero and 32-year-old Gene Hern. The men were installing sewer and water lines in the 8 to 10 foot deep trench. City spokesperson Dave Romero says other workers frantically tried to dig the men out but didn’t make it to them in time. Hern and Romero were pronounced dead on the scene by medical officials.

This serves as another reminder of how important it is to be trained in the proper precautions and dangers of trenches and excavations. Once it happens, it’s too late, there’s no time to prepare. As a first responder, be aware when this type work is going on in your district or response area – don’t take chances, know how to protect yourself. And, if you’re involved with the project from the beginning, preplan each job with the utmost precaution.

According to OSHA, excavation and trenching are among the most hazardous construction operations. This type work presents serious hazards to all workers involved. Cave-ins pose the greatest risk and are much more likely than other excavation-related accidents to result in worker fatalities. Other potential hazards include falls, falling loads, hazardous atmospheres, and incidents involving mobile equipment. The regulation that covers requirements for excavation and trenching operations is OSHA 1926.650.

What’s the difference between an excavation and a trench?
OSHA defines an excavation as any man-made cut, cavity, trench, or depression in the earth’s surface formed by earth removal. This can include excavations for anything from cellars to highways. A trench is defined as a narrow underground excavation that is deeper than it is wide, and no wider than 15 feet (4.5 meters).

Why is it important to preplan the excavation work?
No matter how many trenching, shoring, and back-filling jobs you have done in the past, it is important to approach each new job with the utmost care and preparation. Many on-the-job accidents result directly from inadequate initial planning. Waiting until after the work has started to correct mistakes in shoring or sloping slows down the operation, adds to the cost, and increases the possibility of a cave-in or other excavation failure.

A big part of being safe, is being prepared. Knowing as much as possible about the job or work site and the materials or equipment needed is a best practice. Here are a few things OSHA recommends you consider about the site.

        1. Traffic
        2. Proximity and physical conditions of nearby structures
        3. Soil
        4. Surface and ground water
        5. Location of the water table
        6. Overhead and underground utilities
        7. Weather  conditions

OSHA Excavation and Trenching Standard applies to all open excavations made in the earth’s surface, including trenches. Strict compliance with all sections of the standard will greatly reduce the risk of cave-ins as well as other excavation-related accidents. See the resource below to learn more.
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Katrina’s Bittersweet Reminder

Friday, June 03, 2011

Residents, family members and friends of the Gulf coast, particularly Louisiana and Mississippi, know the devastation Katrina left in her wake. They can vividly remember the pictures of stranded New Orleaneans on rooftops, floating on scrap metal and wood, houses completely submerged or demolished and looting occurring merely as a means for survival.

What people may not know is that if it weren’t for the highly qualified rescue teams that rushed in to save stranded people, the loss of life would have been substantially worse.

In his recently published book, “Lost in Katrina,” author Mikel Shafer tells us that the first bona fide rescue team to arrive in St. Bernard Parish (one of the hardest hit areas) was a Canadian Task Force from Vancouver, British Columbia. Tim Armstrong, Task Force Leader for Vancouver Urban Search and Rescue (as well as a long time Roco Chief Instructor and head of Roco Rescue of Canada, Inc.) received a call from the head of B.C.’s emergency preparedness office about trying to help Louisiana hurricane victims.

Many of the Canadian task force members were Roco-trained and some were even familiar with South Louisiana since Roco’s corporateoffice is located in Baton Rouge (just 50 miles west of the disaster zone). So the folks in Baton Rouge immediately got in touch with Governor Kathleen Blanco’s office to work out logistics for the USAR team.

The trek from the great white north to the swampy bayous of St. Bernard started Tuesday, but the rescue efforts lasted weeks. Tim Armstrong said that he and the others from BC became known as the “Mounties” in the post-Katrina rescue community. Nicknames like this provided a bit of comic relief, well-earned in the chaos of a wind and water ravaged city. With all that had happened, having the “Mounties” in town fit right in. To this day, the residents of St. Bernard Parish remain very grateful to the Canadian USAR team, who aided them in their darkest hour.

As hurricane season 2011 begins this month, we look back with a sense of gratitude to all first responders and rescue pros who never hesitated to respond. Of course, we hope we never need them, but if we do, we know they’ll be there to pull us out of crisis and into recovery. Even if it means traveling nearly 3,000 miles.

2011 hurricane season is expected to be well above average.

NOAA is predicting 12-18 tropical cyclones, 6-10 hurricanes, and 3-6 major hurricanes of Category-3 strength or higher (111 mph or higher). They are also predicting the overall season to be 105-200% of average according to the Accumulated Cyclone Energy index (a method used to account for the intensity and duration of named storms and hurricanes).

Three important ingredients have combined to produce this year’s active hurricane  forecast.

Water temperatures in the Atlantic are above normal. Warm water is the fuel for tropical cyclones.Reduced wind shear over the Atlantic Ocean is expected to persist through much of the hurricane season. Less wind shear aids tropical cyclone development by ensuring the storms are not torn apart by winds aloft, and is critical to a storm’s long-term survival. We are currently in a multi-decade cycle of above average activity that began in 1995.

The good news? NOAA forecast does not consider landfall. We could have an extremely active hurricane season where most of the activity stays over water and has little impact on land. However, it only takes one land-falling hurricane to cause a disaster. Our best advice?

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Rope Care & Cleaning Tips

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Life safety rope is an essential tool for rescue operations. It is your responsibility to learn and understand the capabilities and limitations of your life safety rope before using it. Be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions for the use, care and maintenance. Always double-check that the specifications of the rope match the intended use.

Keeping your rope clean is essential. Dirt rubbing into and against the fibers of your rope will deteriorate it. Here are some suggestions from PMI for cleaning static kernmantle rope.

Wash it: You can wash dirty ropes by hand or in a front-loading commercial washing machine using cold to warm water with a mild sap. Non-detergent soaps are best, but a mild detergent is acceptable if used sparingly. In any case, the soap used should not contain bleaching agents. Avoid top loading washing machines with agitators because they tangle the rope severely and might even cause damage from friction produced by rubbing of the synthetic rope against the synthetic agitator.

Lubricate it: Ropes may dry out and lose some flexibility as a result of washing. You can prevent this by occasionally adding a little fabric softener (about a cup of Downy Fabric Softener) to the rinse cycle during rope washing. Do not use more than this, or it might damage the rope.

Dry it: Dry your rope in a clean, dry area out of direct sunlight. Avoid: (1) commercial dryers, (2) placing wet ropes on a concrete surface, and (3) exposure to exhaust fumes. For best results, the rope should be laid in a loose coil or coiled around two objects in a low-humidity environment.

Write it down: Remember to record the cleaning on the Rope Log.

Keep it clean: After repacking, store your rope in a clean, dark, dry environment, away from exposure to acids, other harmful chemicals, noxious fumes or other abuse.

NOTE: Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use, inspection, care and maintenance of your rescue rope. Your life (and the lives of others) may depend on it, so take it seriously.
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