Recommended Posts

      Understanding the IRATA Syllabus: Mid-transfer rescue

      Rope-to-rope transfers are a basic rope access technique, but the manoeuvre for rescuing a tech who’s become injured or immobile while in the middle of a transfer is fairly complicated. Because of its level of difficulty, only L3 techs are certified to perform a mid-transfer rescue.

      During your IRATA Assessment, L3 certifying techs will be asked to demonstrate competence rescuing an ‘unconscious’ casualty who’s become stuck in one of two different ‘mid-transfer’ scenarios:

      • Suspended at any point in the process of completing a wide rope-to-rope transfer, where the ropes are more than 3m apart.
      • Suspended at any point while crossing a wide re-anchor (aka ‘loop’), with an offset of more than 1.5m

      After reaching and attending to the casualty, you will need to manoeuvre them out of the situation, and return them to the closest and most easily accessible platform, where they can immediately begin receiving medical attention. If getting them to the ground is an option, that should be your first pick – where paramedics can easily access. You only have 20 minutes or so until symptoms associated with suspension intolerance set in, so with any rescue you need to act as quickly as possible.

      Your IRATA assessor will be watching to ensure that you…

      • Practice good casualty management.
      • Avoid the potential of an out-of-control swing (caused by equipment failure) by maintaining 4 safety attachments during the transfer. This applies to yourself and the casualty.

      Going down to 3 points of attachments during a transfer is a major discrepancy and an immediate fail. It’s also a common mistake, so keep careful track of all your attachment points during this manoeuvre.

      You’ll only be asked to demonstrate one mid-transfer rescue on assessment day. Which one will be up to your assessor. We’ll go over both in detail during your training week.

      Please note, as we practice this rescue manoeuvre during your training week (and when you demonstrate it on assessment day), one of your colleagues will be acting as a casualty and feigning immobility. This acting role has its hazards. If you’re playing this role, you’ll need to move your legs frequently to prevent the onset of the symptoms associated with suspension intolerance.

      Additional resources to check out:

      TACS 6.8.7 for the source material for this blog.

      ICOP Part 3, Annex G for more information on suspension intolerance.


      This is part of an ongoing series, where we’re breaking down IRATA’s syllabus and clarifying exactly what ‘demonstrating competence’ and ‘demonstrating awareness’ means, and what will be expected of you on assessment day. As an IRATA L3 certifying tech, you’re expected to be fully competent with the L1 Syllabus and L2 Syllabus. For the additional skills that are part of the L3 syllabus, click below:

      IRATA L3 Study Guide