24 Apr Auto Descenders – Gimmick or Useful?
Auto Descenders – Needed?
Is there a need for auto descenders in the tower and rescue market? Many manufactures, including ones trying to push their products through ANSI regulation, think it is a good idea to take the control out of the operator’s hands. I for one, think this is an awful decision. It is up to the technician to make many critical decisions, such as anchor placement and choice of descent path. These responsibilities take far greater thought and consideration than what speed a tech can rappel.
Descenders – A Work at Height Tool
A descender should be viewed as what it is, a tool used for a specific task. If you can properly use a VT prussik, Munter, Figure 8, ATC, Bar rack, Grigri, stop, D4, Rig, Fisk,or ID, are all descent and rescue devices that have been considered professional at one point or another. There are different DO’s and DON’T’s associated with each device. It is required the technician can safely operate and tie off the device. Having redundancy in the system is also required if it is not an emergency situation. This can be as simple as a prussik on a back-up line. Technicians should take pride in your ability to work at height safely. Putting your life in the hands of a multi-thousand dollar centifigal break that takes your control from the user is a mistake. Yes, they are cool, but you can never engineer the human element out of a system. If you hook your fancy device to an anchor that fails, you are still going to fall! Proper training on even the simplest equipment is far safer in the long run than hiring fools and trying to insulate them with fancy devices. Often times the simple solution that has been tried and tested for generations is still the best.
The Gear Guy Has Spoken!