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      Understanding the IRATA Syllabus: Passing Mid-Rope Knots with a Casualty

      In order to temporarily isolate small areas of damage or to extend the ropes in your system, a mid-rope knot can be used. Passing a mid-rope knot on your own is fairly easy (a L1 manoeuvre), but passing that same knot with a casualty is…a bit more complicated. However, with proper planning (you’ll include the details in the safety method statement), some or all of those complications can be minimized or even avoided entirely. The most effective way to eliminate the difficulty of passing a knot with a casualty is to not use ropes that require isolation at certain points. Tying a knot to isolate damaged rope should only be used as a quick fix while you're descending; you should never accept an isolated rope as a reliable system if the damage is discovered before ropes have been rigged and are in use.

      During your IRATA Assessment, L3 certifying techs will be asked to demonstrate competence descending past a set of mid-rope knots with a casualty.

      Your IRATA assessor will be watching to ensure that you…

      • Consider and protect against rope stretch
      • Practice good casualty management.
      • Recognize that you can use the casualty’s PPE, and use it efficiently.
      • Be able to perform the rescue regardless of the casualties position in relation to the knot (ie; sitting right on top of the knots/above the knots with some descending room)

      We’ll go into further detail on all of this during your training week.

      *Knots will be pre-tied by your instructors in the working and safety line. You can expect the knots to be offset at approximately the same level.

      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 6.8.8 for the source material for this blog.

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

      Our blog post on Understanding the IRATA L1 Syllabus: Passing mid-rope knots


      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