Can you use a small ID for a rescue? That’s the question of the day, and something we’re asked quite a lot. If you’ve seen our Deluxe Tower Rescue Kit you would notice that we do in fact, use the small ID and 7/16″ rope. Let me explain a little of why we do this. And hopefully I’ll answer your lingering question on the correct usage of your small ID in a rescue situation!
The standard that many of us know about and follow would be ANSI. This is the standard that will save your butt and wallet if OSHA showed up on your job site. But spoiler alert: The Petzl ID is not ANSI rated! It has a different rating, NFPA. What are these different ratings you ask? Let me expand! ANSI, the American National Standards Institute is a private organization that has it’s own list of regulations and standards for workplace safety and is recognized by companies in many industries as providing “best practices” for those who choose to follow them. All ANSI regulations meet the regulations set by OSHA, therefore making them a great choice of standard to follow, and in many cases OSHA defers to them as the most applicable standard.
The Small ID is rated NFPA “T”; NFPA is the National Fire Protection Association. They set all the standards and regulations for fire and building safety. The part of the NFPA standard relating to descent devices applies to fire departments and search and rescue teams. Since the Small ID is rated NFPA “T”, meaning for Technical use, it is not intended for rescue, but only for one person and leave the choice of equipment to be determined by the end user and a few other caveats.. However, Petzl does have the Large ID that is rated NFPA “G”, for general use, making this device okay for rescue.
The Small or Large ID meet ANSI Rescue Requirements!So, that’s NFPA. But, are there other applicable standards? Take a look at what ANSI says about Assisted-Rescue Systems in Z359.4-2007 section 3.2.7. Among other things, it says that the descent device should not exceed 2m/s with a rescue load, have a static strength of at least 12kN for at least one minute, and the device shall prevent the rescuer from causing an uncontrolled descent (i.e. be self-braking and anti-panic). The Small or Large Petzl ID meet all of these requirements.
If you’ve ever been involved with SPRAT or IRATA training, you know that the Small ID is their go-to device for pretty much everything, including rescue.It’s also interesting to note that the rope access industry has widely accepted the Small ID in rescue applications. In Safe Practices For Rope Access Work, SPRAT has very few requirements for descent devices. They should allow the user to control their speed, not shock load the rope when stopping, not damage the rope in normal use, and they shouldn’t be able to accidentally detach from the rope. If you’ve ever been involved with SPRAT or IRATA training, you know that the Small ID is their go-to device for pretty much everything, including rescue.
Now if we take a look deeper into the manufacturer’s instructions of the Petzl’s IDs, we will find that they both have a 150kg capacity in normal use, and a 200kg capacity with a breaking carabiner during rescue. That means that with a redirect both the Small and Large ID are able to carry a maximum of 200kg.
Wait a minute, they have the same capacity? Yes.
And that’s the reason we would use the Small ID in our Deluxe Rescue Kit. Why wouldn’t you use the lighter less expensive rope, and Small ID if you could?
Now the question of their NFPA rating though? We can’t just ignore that Large ID is intended for rescue and the Small ID isn’t according to NFPA. So, lets pause for minute. NFPA, is a standard for fire safety and rescue, and if there is a more applicable standard for our rescue situation we are able to use that. We always need to ask ourselves what the most applicable standard is in any given circumstance. Are you a fire fighter or part of a search and rescue team? If so, you should follow NFPA guidelines and use the Large ID (or comparable NFPA G rated device) for rescue. But, if you are in some other setting like Tower Climbing, high-rise window cleaning, Oil and Gas, Utilities, etc. your most applicable standard is ANSI Z359.
Therefore, depending on your industry, the Small ID is perfectly fine for rescue (tower climbing, industrial work, rope access, wind energy, high rise window cleaning), just not okay for some (fire rescue, SAR). Make sure that you, and your guys have the proper training, and that you are following all manufacturers instructions when performing a rescue.