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      Understanding the IRATA Syllabus: Rescue from an aid climb (short connection)

      The challenge of rescuing a casualty from an aid climb goes way up when they’re attached to the structure by a very short connection. This rescue may require some additional equipment. Just like with a regular aid climb rescue, you may need to pre-rig a kit (you’d include the details in the safety method statement and rescue plan) to keep close to the anchor point for quick deployment.

      The difficulty level of this rescue would be even higher if the short connection and connection points were all metal (for example: if the harness D-ring is connected directly to bolt anchor with a single karabiner). That’s why we specifically avoid clipping ourselves into hard connections on aid climbs in field operations. As a L3 supervising tech, it will be your responsibility to ensure your team follows this 'rule' and does not make this mistake when gearing up. However, the rescue from a short connection is a necessary skill should a technician ignore this best practice.

      During your IRATA Assessment, L3 certifying techs will be asked to demonstrate competence rescuing an ‘unconscious’ casualty from an aid climb, where the casualty is directly attached by a short connection to the highest anchor point in the system.

      You will not be able to access an anchor point above the casualty for this rescue.

      You’ll be using one of two different short connections for this exercise:

      • A two-connector attachment into a bolt anchor
      • A one-connector attachment into a short wire-strop anchor

      Another short connection rescue you’ll learn during your training week is a one-connector attachment into a bolt anchor. This is a good rescue to know, but will not necessarily be part of your assessment.

      As mentioned, this is a challenging rescue to perform. Your IRATA assessor recognizes this, and will be reasonably forgiving with any awkwardness you have in carrying it out. Their main concern with this one will be safety. Make sure you’re always maintaining two independent points of attachment for yourself and the casualty, and that you’re practicing good casualty management.

      We’d also recommend that you take a moment to review the list of all the major and minor discrepancies in the TACS, so that you’re extra clear on what your assessor is watching for. Can't remember where to find this list? Refer to our resource list below.

      Please note: 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 6.9.3 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 L2 Syllabus: Rescue from an Aid Climb.

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


      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