Rope Tech Story: Rope, Rescue, and Military
Hey Ropers!This week we are featuring one of our friends here at Pacific Ropes who has been a Rope Tech for an upwards of 8 years! We are going to call him “Doug” to protect his anonymity as per his request. "Doug" has extensive experience in rope and rescue – with some added Military experience - and is an active proponent of ultimate safety in Rope Access training and practice on site. His commitment to the development of our culture is remarkable and he is always willing to mentor, provide advice on best practice, or lend his opinion in all matters regarding our industry. We are happy to share his 11 answers to our 11 Rope Tech Questions blog segment! Without further ado, here's "Doug"!
How did you get your start in Rope Access and why?
I was very new to Canada and have an extensive background in Fire / Rescue / Military involving ropes, so the transition was very natural.
What is the most common question your friends ask you when they want to know ‘what you do’?
“You aren't scared of heights then I take it?" My response is always, "Yes I am if I'm not tied off".
If you had to use one word to describe Rope Access what would it be?
Demanding - on life, family and friends.
Is there anything characteristic of a ‘rope tech’—I mean, heights are not for everyone!
Team Player. A very intrinsic component of Rope Access is team work and coordination to ensure all of our safety on site and to make our work move really efficiently. Our success on a site is dependent on each person pulling their weight.
What's your favorite part of being on a job site?
Working in a team environment. It reminds me a lot of working in Fire Service or the Military. That comradery and reliance on each other is ingrained in everything we do—maybe Rope Access just lacks some of the more rigidly disciplinary aspects that are inherent in those other kinds of institutions.
What is your biggest piece of advice for someone thinking about becoming a Rope Tech. And, on the flip-side, what is your biggest piece of advice for a seasoned tech Iike yourself?
Pick your mentors wisely and make sure they represent and practice the absolute best in our industry. Try and end up working with teams of people that encourage you to engage best practice and by all means necessary steer clear of any drug and alcohol abuse.
And for seasoned Techs - all eyes are on you as an L3- you have a lot of responsibility to effectively communicate, manage techs, and supervise. Really hone in on what it means to be a great leader in our industry and as I mentioned before, when thinking about this, identify those L3’s you’ve looked up to and ask them for their advice regarding management on a work site. Leadership is a big responsibility on our sites and we need to keep our culture of management moving forwards in a positive, progressive way.
Where do you see the future of Rope Access in Canada?
Only getting better and becoming more prevalent! In saying that, however, our standards on every front have to remain and continue to develop; meaning, don't simply push techs through training to fill a position. Make sure they are skilled and ready to perform on site exceptionally. So, making sure we keep a high level of skill expectation is key to the success of our industry.
What is the biggest misnomer about our industry that you would like to clear up?
That Rope Techs are transients, drug users and alcoholics. Like any industry there are some bad apples, but for the most part, and for the future of this industry, we see a lot of great, healthy, motivated people.
What has been your most exciting work site?
Penstock Inspections - I enjoy the darkness, the sound of running water and the deep black hole below you- very relaxing
What continues to inspire your life as someone who has given their professional life to Rope Access?
It's a great trade and when you have a good crew, it makes a job no longer a job but a total joy.
Being on several work sites, you must have had some laughs when taking a break, so, what’s your favorite clean joke?
In the late 1880's Australia designed the condom. In 1900 New Zealand refined the condom by removing it from the sheep.
Pacific Ropes would like to thank "Doug" for his time and insightful thoughts about his experience in Rope Access!
Want to read some more questions answered by a rope tech? Click below!