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      Understanding the IRATA Syllabus: Passing a Single Deviation with a Casualty

      To re-position the ropes in order to avoid obstructions, hazards and abrasion related damage to the rope system, a double anchor deviation can be rigged. If there is no presence of a hazard, a single anchor deviation can be used to change the technicians position. Ordinarily a deviation (unlike a re-anchor) can be rigged-for-rescue, but there may be some instances where a lowering system is not possible – for example, if there’s not a clear trajectory for the casualty to be lowered to the ground. Passing a deviation with a casualty is an advanced intervention rescue, and you will need a competent team on site (with key members, easily accessible) to make this feasible.

      During your IRATA Assessment, L2 certifying techs will be asked to demonstrate competence descending with a casualty through a single-anchor deviation, and L3 certifying techs through a double-anchor deviation.

      Your IRATA assessor will specifically be watching to ensure that you…

      • Avoid the potential of an out-of-control swing.
      • Manage and prevent any excess slack from building up in the safety line.
      • Practice good casualty management.
      • Maintaining the necessary points of attachment to the deviation anchors during the transition.

      Important with this, and really any rescue, is that you remain calm throughout the rescue and use efficient problem solving and ongoing risk assessment to get the casualty quickly and safely to the ground. This is something your assessor will also be watching for – that the decisions you make as the rescuer are logical, and executed with care and knowledge. If you’re prepared, you won’t need to doubt yourself. But if at any point during the assessment you’re feeling overwhelmed, also remember that it’s okay to take a moment to collect yourself before moving forward.

      As we practice this 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 6.8.4 for the source material for this blog.

      TACS 6.4.8 for more information on deviations.

      Our blog post on Understanding the IRATA L1 Syllabus: Deviations.

      TACS 9.6.3-9.6.4 for a full list of major and minor discrepancies.

      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 L2 certifying tech, you’re expected to be fully competent with the L1 Syllabus. To return back to the IRATA L2 Study Guide or IRATA L3 Study Guide, click below:

      IRATA L2 Study Guide     IRATA L3 Study Guide