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We were deep inside a cave on a rescue carrying over 100kgs of gear and I thought there must be a better way?

Grant Prattley, November 19th, 2019

After 24 hours on the go, three rescuers remained at the top of a 110m pitch. We had rigged a tracking line with a 70m offset with a small team of rescuers. With a larger team, we hauled the patient as well as lots of equipment up the pitch.

After a quick calculation and realised we had achieved over 1000m of hauling in 24 hours! Then, as we were carrying over 100kgs of rescue gear out to the entrance, I thought ‘there must be a better way?’

Question: What can 1000m of hauling in 24hrs do?

Answer: To be honest, it nearly broke me, but most importantly, it got me thinking and questioning what we do.

First, we must stop and analyse what we need and then act. Contrary to what you might think the latest rope rescue equipment and high-end techniques are not necessarily going to help you achieve your goals.

My name is Grant Prattley, and I am the founder of Over The Edge Rescue. We help organisations improve their performance. We provide customised rescue solutions to organisations in New Zealand, Australia and around the world.

We find out what you need first and then working with you, develop a solution. The process includes problem identification & scoping, programme development & design, procedures development, materials testing, technical publications development and course piloting & delivery.

For example
We worked with the New Zealand Speleological Society (NZSS) to develop a new way of operating by defining the problem first. Rescues with smaller teams, operating deep in caves, who don’t often train together and have a limit to the weight and bulk they can carry. We tested a new simple system based on lighter weight ropes and equipment with the gear cavers usually carry. Only then could we develop training courses that met the needs of the organisation.

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