2IntroductionRope is one of the most important and routinely used tools in the fire serviceIn this chapter, you will learn:How to select the proper ropeThe proper uses of rope in fire serviceThe essential skill of knot tyingHow to properly inspect, maintain, and store rope
3Rope Materials and Their Characteristics Constructed of a wide variety of materialsEach material has different characteristicsEarliest ropes were made of natural materialsThe fire service has re-examined the type of rope materials being utilized as life safety lines
4Natural Materials Materials that fall into this category Manila, sisal, and cottonShare same poor characteristics with regard to:RotMildewAbrasion resistanceNatural deteriorationLow shock load absorption capability
6Synthetic Materials Primary synthetic materials utilized: NylonPolypropylenePolyethylenePolyesterToday, ropes made of these are the rule rather than the exceptionHigh strength-to-weight ratio
7Figure 15-6 Brightly colored polyethylene rope floating on water.
8Construction Methods and Their Characteristics Natural fiber ropes dominating fire service were constructed using laid methodModern ropes utilize a number of different construction techniquesTwo broad categories:StaticDynamic
9Laid (Twisted)Most common type of construction for natural fiber ropesFormed by twisting individual fibers together to form strands or bundlesTends to accentuate spinning and twistingAdvantage is that all fibers are exposedEasy to inspectExposed fibers also susceptible to damage
10Figure 15-7 Example of laid construction method.
11Braided Utilized predominantly with synthetic fibers Formed by weaving small bundles of fibers together, much the same as braided hairSmooth to touch, high flexibilityDoes not accentuate spinningEvery fiber exposed to abrasion, sunlight, and physical damage
12Braid-on-Braid Formed by braiding a sheath over a smaller braided core Ropes of this kind are quite dynamicSoft sheath more susceptible to damage from abrasionFigure Example of braid-on-braid construction method.
13Kernmantle Kern is a derivative of the term kernel Mantle is defined as “anything that cloaks, envelops, covers, or conceals”Kern carries vast majority of loadCan be dynamic or static depending on configuration of fibers of kernQuite resistant to abrasion
14Figure Example of kernmantle construction method with the outer kern cut and pulled back at the end, showing the inner mantle section.
15Primary Uses Fire service utilizes ropes on a regular basis Operations divided into two classifications:UtilitySafetyFirefighter should be familiar with department standard rope use
16Utility Rope used for utility purposes has no governing standards Firefighters must take extra precautions when using utility ropeFirefighters should become familiar with common uses within their own department
17Firefighting and Rescue Uses Ropes for structural search and rescue guide ropes do not fall into category of life safety ropesRopes, harnesses, and hardware utilized anywhere there will be life supported must comply with NFPA 1983NFPA 1983 categorizes life safety ropes as:Light-useGeneral-useNFPA 1983 also sets tensile strength requirements for each
18Fire Service Knots Each service will have preferred methods and knots Consult local protocol, policies or SOPs to find which knots expected for various situationsSome knots introduced with switch to synthetic fibers
19Terms Used for Rope and Knots Three separate and distinct parts of a rope:Working endStanding partRunning endFirefighters need to know terms used to describe elements combined to form knots
20Figure 15-12 The three parts of a rope: working end, standing part, and running end.
21Figure 15-13 Left to right: a round turn, a bight, and a loop Figure Left to right: a round turn, a bight, and a loop. Take the loose end of the working end after tying the primary knot, and secure it by making a round turn around the standing knot and bringing the loose end through. Make a round turn in the standing portion of the rope, and slide the round turn down over the object being hoisted.
22KnotsDressing: make sure parts of the knot are lying in the proper orientation to other partsSetting: make sure knot is snug in all directionsMost commonly used:Half hitch and overhand (safety) knotClove hitchBecket bend and double becket bendBowline knot and figure eight knotsRescue knot and water knot
23(A)(B)Figure (A) A loose and sloppy knot. (B) A knot properly dressed and set.
24Inspection All ropes must be inspected and properly maintained Inspections should be a matter of department policyLife safety rope found damaged must be removed from serviceRopes should be inspected along their entire length
25Figure 15-16 It is very important that rope is inspected as it is being put back into a rope bag.
26Laid (Twisted) Firefighters should look and feel for: Foreign matterSlippery spotsVoids in center fibersStiff or hard spots and soft spotsLaid ropes should be untwisted at random intervals to inspect between strands
27Figure 15-18 It is important to twist apart a laid rope to inspect between strands.
28Braided Should be visually and tactilely inspected as well Inspecting inside is not possibleAll strands appear on the surface somewhere along the rope
29Braid-on-BraidWhen inspecting braid-on-braid rope, there is no way to see the inside braided ropePay attention to tactile inspectionWatch and feel for damageOutside braid will sometimes slip over the inner braid causing the rope to invertImmediately remove from serviceOutside braid represents 50 percent of strength
30Kernmantle Cannot see kern portion Represents 75 percent of total strength of ropeTactile inspection is best and only way to discover damage to kernKey is to search for a different feelFlat spots, voids, bunches, stiffness, and limpness
31Maintenance Maintenance of ropes is not difficult Firefighter may be called on to assist with placing new rope into serviceCarefully adhere to manufacturer's instructions
32Cleaning Follow manufacturer's instructions Brush dirt off natural materials; do not use waterLose 50 percent of strength when wetDo not regain strength when dryRopes manufactured from synthetic materials can be cleaned in a number of waysHand washRope washerClothes washing machine
33Figure 15-24 A kernmantle rope can also be “chained” and washed in a front-loading washing machine.
34Drying Rope must be completely dried prior to storage Different drying methods:Lay flat to dryHang to dryUse clothing dryer with extreme cautionEven a low temperature setting could surpass manufacturer’s recommendations
35Storage Quick identification is important TypeLengthDifferent material types, sizes, or colors of bags or tags can be used to differentiateEach department needs to establish policyStandard coilingUtilization of special bags
36Figure 15-27 The two most common methods of storing life safety ropes (bagged or coiled).
37Rigging for HoistingOne of the primary uses of rope on emergency sceneMuch smaller rope can be utilizedCan be stored bagged or coiledSome departments have policies governing the use of tag/guide lines
38Specific Tools and Equipment Small figure eight on a bight with half hitch up handle is easiest and quickest way to hoist an axPike poles should be hoisted point upHoselines can be hoisted charged or unchargedPower tools have closed handles or support piecesLadders are hoisted on regular basis
39Securing a Rope between Two Objects Need to secure a rope between two objects may arise at any emergency sceneRope may be used as a barrier using one of two methodsFigure eight on a bight may be used to secure an anchor point
40Lessons Learned Ropes have many uses Fire service uses ropes on a regular basisExperience is the most effective teacherFirefighters are encouraged to practice the basics learnedMaintenance of rope is not difficult or complicated