[TowerTalk] Tower Falls, After the fall/save

Pat Barthelow aa6eg at hotmail.com
Fri Oct 26 17:20:35 EDT 2007


If most of us agree that a full body harness attached securely
to the tower at all times,  is good  protection, then how does
the rescue play out?  Depending on the harness, and your suspension
your problems may just be beginning.  
I have (somewhere) an after-action  report of a training class for first 
responders for recovery of a victim who is suspended by his certified full body
harness somewhere above the ground.  The class began with hoisting
the volunteer "victim"  a little off the ground and discussing the 
nuts and bolts of recovery.  During the initial chatter, an unexpected. unplanned
event happened.  The volunteer "victim" became a VICTIM and passed out.  
The pressure of the leg straps had cut off circulation  at his legs, (It was later learned)
and he passed out.   They lowered the "victim"  the one foot or so,to the ground 
where he regained consciousness.  It was stunning to the class, and a 
real lesson.  They then realized that a suspended person can become
a medical emergency, depending on positioning, adjustment of the 
suspension harness.   

So a suspended, saved person may still a 
medical emergency, needing quick response.
Even at best, if you are hanging at the 70 ft level
things may  still be  dicey for  a rescue unless you have planned,
walked through the rescue cycle of the event.

Talk to your nearest first responders, fire stations, ambulances
etc to see what their capabilities are for recovering you 
suspended at 70 ft, or whatever  height. 
If your cell phone works at 70 ft and if you can reach it, after 
your fall, just call 911 to start the process.  Or yell to your thoroughly 
briefed family/ground crew to do the  right thing and start the process.

In the case of Jamesburg where I play, for example, a worst case fall off the ladder 
below and leading to the hatch to the  dish surface and feeds,  could result in me 
hanging by the shock arrestor in my full harness, about 65ft above ground 
and about 15 ft horizontally spaced from any  structure.  See Picture:


On a regular tower, it might be that you are hanging in a position/location, 
or are injured where you cant grapple wth the structure to get a foothold to 
further climb down the tower.

If I developed the pass out problem due to harness constrictions, I would be 
a dead body by the time they recovered me.

Turns out the local Carmel Valley/Cachagua  Fire Station is 1/8 mile away and had trained at the
Jamesburg Dish, and was equipped with the know how and 
hardware to recover a  suspended victim at 70 ft or so.  If emergency ground crew
and response chain worked without a hitch,  I guess they could arrive on site
in about 5-10 minutes, and begin the aerial rescue.
Thank goodness.

All the Best, 73,
Pat Barthelow     aa6eg at hotmail.com
Subscribe: http://bambi.net/jamesburg.html
Jamesburg Earth Station  Moon Bounce Team

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