Roco Rescue



Where Do You Fit Best on Your Rescue Team?

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

By Pat Furr, VPP Coordinator & Corporate Safety Officer for Roco Rescue, Inc.

At the start of nearly every rescue class, I'll ask, “Okay, who here is afraid of heights?” Usually a few folks will raise their hands, but the vast majority don’t. I then qualify the same question by saying, “By afraid, I don’t mean that you are so overcome with fear that you cannot function – only that when you are at height you get a little case of the butterflies…” Then a few more hands will go up, but typically still fewer than half the class. I continue by adding that I’m always am a bit concerned for the folks that didn’t raise their hand as it means one of two things. First, it may be they are not being totally honest, but more concerning to me is they truly are not afraid of heights...and this is scary.

Human beings are born with an innate fear of heights. This is natural, and quite protective. I’m certainly afraid of heights, and I still get butterflies. It’s just that I’ve learned how to get those butterflies to fly in formation, so I can then function just fine at height. The day I climb atop a wind turbine tower or get that first peek over the edge of some serious exposure, and I don’t get that familiar feeling, that’s my sign to hang up my harness and ride the keyboard full time. This feeling is our not-too-subtle reminder that we do not have wings…and it is a healthy reminder!

There is a point to this, and I’m about to get there. Over the years, I've had some students with a serious case of YMIC (young male immortality complex). They will insist that they are not afraid of heights – or anything else, for that matter. I've found, when it comes time to go over the edge while hanging from that skinny little ½” kernmantle rope, backed up with a ½” safety line, our superheroes tend to freeze like the statue of Michelangelo. They won’t budge, can’t speak, or look any direction but down! Most often, these individuals gradually gain trust in their equipment; in the techniques they’ve learned; and perhaps, most importantly, in themselves. While they may never be "comfortable" going over the edge, they can still be valuable members of their rescue team. Some can be very strong in many other rescue skills such as knot tying, rigging, friction control, mechanical advantage, etc. They can also be excellent in logistics, developing action plans and other key areas.

First, know your weaknesses as well as your strengths. Then, identify your weaknesses and strive to make them your strengths.

A second tenet I live by is to enter a rescue knowing that you will be an asset to the effort. But sometimes, it’s not possible to do this, and having an unusual fear of heights may be one of those times. Avoid crossing the line from being an asset to becoming a liability – creating a situation in which your team would then have to deal with “two” victims. This is huge – especially in an emergency. And that’s what this article is all about. 

Before I go any further, a bit about egos. There is simply no room for egos during a rescue. When the call comes in, it’s about one person and one person only, and that is the victim. We all have our pride, but we need to “park it” until everyone, including the victim and the rescuers, are safe and sound. As trained rescuers, we all have something to contribute. Each of us has a role to fill in the rescue effort and be an asset to the overall effectiveness of our team.

So, how do we learn what our best role as a rescuer may be? Here’s one way. Practice as a team in simulated rescues that are scenario driven and mimic the types of rescues that your team may be summoned to perform. It is during these practice sessions that you will discover your strengths and your weaknesses. It is important for ALL team members to honestly critique each other as well as themselves to help determine the best way to fill the different roles on the team.

As your team practices more often, trends will start to surface. One rescuer may be particularly strong at climbing and can rig cleanly and efficiently while hanging from work positioning equipment. Another rescuer may be your “ace in the hole” for rigging anchors. A third may be so good at converting lowering systems to haul systems, that it’s an obvious choice. Then, there may be some that don’t shine at any particular skill, but are reliable haul team members or can run the SAR cart with the best of them.

All teams have a spectrum of performers, whether it’s a football team, a production assembly line or a team of cooks and chefs in a large restaurant. The same holds true for a rescue team. Some of the factors that affect performance may be physical. Let’s face it, our 5’4” 150-pound “Hole Rat” can pass through tight portals and operate in congested confined spaces easier than most 6’ 6” 280-pounders. Sometimes it’s mechanical aptitude. We see it all the time in training rescuers. Some folks have a natural mechanical aptitude and can understand and build rescue systems as if it were second nature, while others struggle to get it right on a consistent basis.

And, yes, a pronounced fear of height that may inhibit a rescuer’s ability to perform effectively at height is yet another factor to consider. Other things include leadership qualities, attention to detail, general physical strength, comfort with breathing air systems, the presence or lack of claustrophobia and the list goes on. The only way to realize and understand these abilities and limitations is to practice as a team – and practice often – while staying attuned to these individual abilities and limits. Understand them and use them to your advantage in determining who is the best fit for the various team member roles on any given rescue effort. And please, please do not take it personally. Again, we all have our pride and want to shine; however, we all can shine as a team! And the best way to shine as a team is to understand, as best we can, where each member best fits and can contribute most.

Remember, so much of rescue is about mechanical systems, safety, victim packaging and other easily defined considerations. As rescuers, I invite you to take it to the next level. Think about the harder-to-define factors such as individual team member skills AND limitations. Help each other as a team arrive at the best mix of the right people in the right positions – and all for the good of the victim!
read more 

Listen to Roco's Offshore Complications Podcast

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Guest Eddie Chapa gives an interesting inside look into the world of technical rescue for offshore operations and the complications that are faced under such limited conditions.

On top of all the hazards faced during land-based rescue efforts, Eddie brings to light the other factors such as weather, sea state, medical and extended care support, transportation, and equipment considerations that compound these already difficult tasks.

Roco also has a library of podcasts with discussions on other topics such as confined space, the new OSHA 1926 Construction standard, fall protection and many more. Click our podcast icon below for instructions on how you can subscribe to RescueTalk™ podcasts and listen at your leisure.

read more 

Medical Training Programs from Roco

Monday, August 29, 2016

medical training program from RocoFrom the basics of First Aid/CPR to Basic Life Support for Prehospital Providers, Roco now offers medical training from our professional instructors and experienced emergency responders. This training is designed to provide hands-on instruction for those requiring these lifesaving skills as part of their job – particularly those who work in industrial environments. Students will be taught the critical skills necessary to provide basic first aid for medical, environmental and traumatic injuries.

• Take your emergency response team to the next level in patient care.
• Let us add this training to your next rescue or refresher class.
• Train at your location or ours…the Roco Training Center.

Our instructors will provide insight to medical considerations through experience gained working as nationally registered paramedics and critical care flight paramedics. These new courses can be scheduled separately or incorporated into your next Roco training.

• Basic Life Support for Prehospital Providers (8-hrs)
• First Aid/CPR/AED Training (5 to 7-hrs)
• Bloodborne Pathogens (1-hr)

For complete course descriptions click here. To discuss program options, call 800-647-7626 to speak with one of our instructors.

read more 

Slow Process of Recovery Begins in South Louisiana

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

First of all, we would like to thank all of you for your calls, thoughts and prayers during this time of historic flooding in the Baton Rouge region. While so many of our Roco employees and their families have been affected, including some who have lost everything, we are very thankful to report that all are safe. Some estimates show that up to 60,000+ homes received water damage [number updated]. 

Fortunately, our offices and the Roco Training Center were not flooded, so all classes – including Rescue Challenge – are proceeding as planned. It is very important, however, that hotel rooms be confirmed (and re-confirmed) as quickly as possible as they will be filling rapidly with recovery workers. Should you have any issues, please call the Roco office (800-647-7626) as soon as possible.

As we continue to get back to a normal operational status, we appreciate your continued thoughts and prayers during this time as many have lost so much. And, once again, we are reminded that we get to work with the best people on earth – emergency responders. Local responders have worked tirelessly, and now volunteer to help each other with clean up. They have truly been amazing; and, as always, we are very grateful for their service!

Kay G. & the Roco Staff

P.S. Because so many have asked how they can help Roco personnel, we have created a "GoFundMe" account. If you wish to participate, please click the link shown below. Please note that all funds will be distributed to Roco personnel to assist in the recovery and rebuilding process. Thank you so much to everyone who has offered to help!

“Out of the ashes of the WTC formed a team of first responders who now volunteer their experience and expertise responding to disaster-stricken communities, and build housing for wounded returning veterans who continue the fight that began on September 11, 2001.”

A very special THANKS to HEART 9/11 for assisting Roco personnel and others following historic flooding in the Baton Rouge area. This group of first responders – FDNY, NYPD, PAPD and the NYC Building Trades – bonded in the aftermath of 9/11 to honor the sacrifices of brave colleagues and family members, to utilize their experience and training in service to others and to bring a message of hope to communities affected by disaster. You can support the efforts of HEART 9/11 (Healing Emergency Aid Response Team) by visiting their website at

Top Photo Source: Patrick Dennis / The Advocate via AP

read more 

Roco Rescue Refresher - Beaumont, Texas

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Join us on November 4th at the BEST complex for a one-day Roco Rescue Refresher. This 70-acre site located in Beaumont, Texas, has long been considered one of the best live fire training complexes in the country. The facility also provides a training tower along with a variety of props for performing rope rescue training.

This 10-hour Roco Refresher will focus on confined space and high angle rescue drills for hands-on practice in realistic scenarios. Participants will be coached through various exercises utilizing state-of-the-art rescue techniques and equipment from the industry’s leading manufacturers.

Both OSHA 1910.146 PRCS and NFPA 1006 require annual practice and skills proficiency for emergency responders, this session will help prepare your rescuers for the unique challenges presented when performing confined space rescue. This course is physically demanding and consists of 85% field exercises. 

Topics include:
• Equipment updates and familiarization
• Rapid deployment drills for industrial rescue
• Effective rigging for confined space rescue
• OSHA CS types and problem-solving scenarios 
• High angle rescue scenarios

• Rescue from fall protection

Course: Rescue Refresher
Hours: 10 training hours
Fee: $450 (includes lunch)

Note: Rescue harnesses and hardware will be provided. PPE must be provided by students to include helmet or hardhat with chinstrap, rescue gloves, headlamp, safety glasses, and ankle supportive footwear. Again, this is physically demanding course and consists of 85% field exercises.

For more details, call us at 800-647-7626. To register for the class, contact Jim Philp with BEST at 409-291-4447.

read more 

Previous Next
.. 2 3 4 5 6 .. 7

RescueTalk ( has been created as a free resource for sharing insightful information, news, views and commentary for our students and others who are interested in technical rope rescue. Therefore, we make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, or suitability of any information and are not liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis. Users and readers are 100% responsible for their own actions in every situation. Information presented on this website in no way replaces proper training!