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TechNOTE

ROPE INSPECTION / RETIREMENT INFORMATION

This is not a product but may be printed for your convenience

RescueTECH ACCESS™ Lifeline meets or exceeds the life safety rope requirements of NFPA 1983 standard on fire service safety rope. RescueTECH ACCESS™ Lifeline is intended for use in rescue operations from above a victim or for rappelling. Should the risk of free fall arise, a dynamic rope is recommended for use; refer to EN892 for requirements. While using RescueTECH ACCESS™ Lifeline, anchoring points should always be above the user. Misuse of this product or use in conjunction with incorrect hardware and rappelling devices may cause serious injury or jeopardize the safety of the rescue operation. Rescue Technology recommends RescueTECH ACCESS™ Lifeline be used with NFPA or CE approved hardware and related equipment, and the hardware shall be suitable for the diameter of rope being used. RescueTECH ACCESS™ Lifeline should only be used by personnel qualified in life safety, rescue, and rappelling. RescueTECH ACCESS™ Lifeline should be inspected prior to and after each use. Records must be kept that detail each use and the results of the inspections. It is recommended that the rope be used by the same person that maintains the history of that rope. Prior to any rescue operation, careful planning and situation analysis should take place to ensure safety.

WARNING - Failure to follow these instructions and/or improper care and use of your rope can result in serious injury or death. Never use any rope for something other than its intended purpose.
Inspect your rope regularly Prior to use or reuse of the rope the rope must meet the following conditions.

  • The rope is not visibly damaged.
  • The rope has not been exposed to heat or direct flame impingement or abrasion.
  • The rope has not been subjected to any impact load or force.
  • The rope has not been exposed to liquids, solids, gases, mists or vapors of any chemical or other material that can deteriorate the rope.
  • The rope passes inspection when inspected by a qualified person following the manufacturer’s inspection procedures both before and after use. If the rope does not meet all of the above conditions, if the rope does not pass inspection, or if there is any doubt about the safety or serviceability of the rope it must NOT be used. It must be removed from service and destroyed.

Rope Inspection Procedures
A qualified person must inspect the rope before and after each use. All ropes must be inspected visually and manually (with bare hands) along every inch of its length. It is the USER’S RESPONSIBILITY to know the history of his/her rope and make the decision as to when a rope should be retired. The manufacturer cannot guarantee the specifications of a used rope. The pre and post use inspections must be noted in the accompanying rope log.  If your rope does not meet the following inspection criteria it MUST be retired!
This includes all inspection criteria as well as loss of faith or doubt as to the serviceability for the rope. Destroy rope by cutting into lengths too short for further use.When to retire your rope - The following are general guidelines that can assist you in deciding when to retire a rope. If your rope has any of the following characteristics it must be retired:


Inspection Criteria

  • Abrasion/Sheath Wear - The core is exposed or more than half of the outer sheath yarns are abraded.
  • Fraying indicates broken or damaged sheath bundles caused by abrasion or overloading.
  • Glazing and/or glossy marks or hard, stiff areas which signify heat damage.
  • Discoloration, a change in the ropes original color is an indication of chemical damage or overexposure to the elements of nature including UV radiation.
  • Exposed Core Fibers indicate severe sheath damage and possible core damage.
  • A Lack of Uniformity in Diameter or Size indicates core damage. This is noted by a depression in the diameter of the rope, lumpiness of the rope or exposure of white core fibers protruding from the sheath.
  • Flexibility and/or inconsistency in texture including, but not limited to, stiff or soft areas signify possible core damage.
  • Use/Age - the rope is simply worn out from use. We recommend a low elongation/static rope be removed from service after ten years under ideal use and storage condition.
  • Loss of Faith - if you feel uncomfortable for any reason or suspect there may be a problem with your rope it must be retired and destroyed.It is not possible to pre-determine an expected life span for a rescue kernmantle rope. Consistent, accurate record keeping, with a careful inspection program, are the best methods for determining when to remove a rope from service.
  • No type of visual inspection can be guaranteed to determine accurately and precisely actual residual strength. When the fibers show wear in any given area, the rope should be downgraded or replaced. 
  • Service / Storage Life: Rescue Technology recommends that Low stretch Kernmantle Life Safety Ropes should have a maximum service life of 10 years*. We also recommend that Life Safety Ropes be put into active service within 5 years of its production date in order to enjoy the rope's handling characteristics. These stated time limits in no way preclude the requirement of regular inspection by a competent person skilled in the inspection of Life Safety Rope and appropriate use by trained rescuers.  Warning:  Lack of accountability of a ropes purchase date, usage dates and types, inspection dates and results can impact the suitability of any rope used for life safety.

Cautions on Rope Use

  • Sheath Abrasion Damage - Take special care to protect your rope from abrasion. Sheath damage is the most common cause of early rope retirement. This damage occurs most often when your rope comes into contact with rough or sharp edges of equipment. Man made structures, such as buildings or towers, also pose a high risk for damaging or cutting ropes due to the probability of sharp objects. Rope will be severely damaged if subjected to rough surfaces or sharp edges.
    Chocks, bits, winches, drums, and other surfaces must be kept in good condition and free of burrs and rust. Pulleys must be free to rotate and should be of proper size to avoid excessive wear. Rope grabs, ascenders and similar devices will damage and weaken the rope and should be used with extreme caution.

    Always use a rope pad between the rope and surfaces with which the rope may come in contact. Improperly padded or unpadded ropes are subject to excessive or premature abrasion and failure.  Avoid stepping on your rope and do not drag rope over rough ground - Besides the potential of cutting, stepping on a rope will grind dirt into the core which will cause internal abrasion. A ground cloth should be used to keep the rope from being in direct contact with dirt or grit. Keep your rope clean - Dirt or grit will shorten the life of your rope by increasing internal and external abrasion.

    Wash your rope occasionally in cold water with small amounts of mild soap only. Rinse the rope in several baths of clean cold water to remove soap. Agitate the rope while in the water bath to aid in the removal of soap residue. A fabric softener used in the proper proportion to the amount of wash water may be used. Rinse thoroughly after the fabric softening solution is applied. The rope must be air dried by loosely coiling and hanging in the shade away from direct sunlight or other heat sources. DO NOT USE BLEACH OR BLEACH SUBSTITUTES! DO NOT DRY ROPE IN A DRYER!
  • Open Flame and High Temperatures - Do not expose any rope to flame or high temperature as it will melt or burn causing failure. Carry and store the rope so it is protected against flame and high temperatures. The melting point of Type 6 nylon is 419 to 430 degrees Fahrenheit. The melting point of polyester is 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Accidental Dynamic Loading - Although RescueTECH ACCESS Lifeline low elongation rope is designed to help absorb the energy of ACCIDENTAL dynamic loading allowing the user a greater margin of safety, the user is responsible for checking rigging to avoid dynamic loading in any manner whatsoever. Working load limits are not applicable when rope is subject to significant dynamic loading. Whenever a load is picked up, stopped, moved, or swung, there is an increased force due to dynamic loading. The more rapidly or suddenly such actions occur, the greater this increase force will be. In extreme cases, the force put on the rope may be two, three, or even more times the normal load involved. If an accidental dynamic loading does occur the rope must be retired and destroyed.
  • Exceeding Working Load Limit - Do not overload rope. Exceeding the Working Load Limit (WLL) of a rope can cause permanent damage to a rope. This damage may not be apparent to the naked eye. Ropes that have been overloaded should be retired.Always use proper rappelling and belaying techniques – Fast rappels, bounding or swinging, positioning the rope over a sharp edge, dynamically loading a low elongation/static rope are some example of uses which damage your rope and/or cause failure. Any belay or rappel device puts sharp bends in a rope and will contribute to potential abrasion your rope receives. Avoid worn out belay devices as they have the potential to cut your rope. Fast rappels will cause excessive heat from friction that will damage your rope. This heat will melt the sheath fiber causing a glazing or stiffening effect which dramatically shortens the life of your rope. Always take care to rappel and lower loads slowly and in control at all times.
  • Chemical Contamination - Protect your rope from exposure to harsh chemicals. Exposure to chemicals will cause failure that can result in injury or death. DO NOT allow your rope to come into contact with any compounds containing acids or alkalis, oxidizing agents, phenol or bleaching compounds. Be especially careful to avoid contact with battery acid. Remember: Contaminants can be in the form of liquids, solids, mist or vapors. Contamination may or may not be visible and may not be detectable. If you suspect your rope has been contaminated it must not be used. It must be destroyed immediately to prevent any use whatsoever. Although it will not entirely eliminate the possibility, ropes should always be stored in a rope bag to reduce the potential of contamination.

STORAGE, CARE AND TRANSPORT OF ROPE
Records to be maintained by the purchaser or user of this rope include purchase date, serial number and sales receipt. Inspection record to be kept in the log on the following pages are: Date of each use, Location of use, Conditions of use (weather, training, rescue), Pre and Post use inspection (proper prior use and inspection recorded, abrasion, fraying, sheath glazing, uniformity of diameter, discoloration, flexibility, exposed fibers, age, loss of faith) and the Inspectors name.Maintain the original product labels and information log. If they are removed to be retained in a permanent rope record, ensure copies are made and kept with the rope for the benefit of the end user.

  • Storage:  Rope should be stored clean, dry, out of direct sunlight, and away from extreme heat. It is generally recommended that ropes be stored and transported in a rope bag designated for that use. Cordage should be kept in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated area. It should be kept off the floor, on racks to provide ventilation underneath. Never store on a concrete or dirt floor, and under no circumstances should cordage and acid or alkalis be kept in the same area.  Do not store rope in direct sunlight. Synthetic rope (particularly polypropylene and polyethylene) may be severely weakened by prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays. UV degradation is indicated by discoloration and the presence of broken filaments on the surface of the rope.
  • Care:Rope should be cleaned, to remove dirt or abrasive particles, in a mild soap and cool or tepid water. Air dry out of direct sunlight. Washing with detergents will remove any coatings that may have been added to enhance the performance of the product. Do not use any Bleaching Compounds.Heat: Avoid overheating. Heat can seriously affect the strength of rope. When using rope where temperatures exceed 140° F (or if it is too hot to hold), consult the manufacturer for recommendations as to the size and type of rope for the proposed continuous heat exposure conditions. If rope has been stored at elevated temperatures over a long period of time it can fail under loads below its rated breaking strength. If the user has any doubts concerning the strength of a rope, then the manufacturer should be contacted.  CAUTION: Heat can seriously affect the strength of synthetic ropes. The temperature at which 50% strength loss can occur in new and unused ropes is 350° F.

WARNING 
All synthetic rope under load will recoil if there is a failure of the anchorage system. The snapback action can propel the anchor hardware and the rope causing serious injury to persons or property anywhere in the vicinity. This danger can exist from failure of the hardware within the rope's working load limit. Check all rigging and rescue hardware, shackles, connectors, etc. before using.

Warranty Disclaimer:  If any of the Safety and/or Inspection Criteria are not met by any person(s), the Warranty on this product is considered void.
Warranty:  Rescue Technology Rope products are guaranteed by the manufacturer to be free from defects in materials and workmanship for the useful life of the product. This warranty does not cover normal wear and tear or abuse due to improper use or modification of the product. Accordingly, the manufacturer will repair or replace, at no charge, any defective product returned to us. Additional information regarding life safety rope can be found in NFPA 1500, Standard on Fire Department Occupational Safety and Health Program, and NFPA 1983, Standard on Fire Service Life Safety Rope and System Components. NFPA Publications from National Fire Protection Association, 1 Batterymarch Park, P.O. Box 9101, Quincy, MA 02269-9101 and ASTM F 1740 Standard Guide for Inspection of Nylon, Polyester, or Nylon/Polyester Blend, or Both Kernmantle Rope

 

 

WARNING!
Technical Rescue and Safety is potentially hazardous. Any person using equipment sold by RESCUE TECHNOLOGY in any manner is personally responsible for learning proper techniques involved, and assumes all risks and accepts full and complete responsibility for any and all damages, including death, which may result from the use of any equipment sold by RESCUE TECHNOLOGY. The tensile strengths listed are for a new products. Tensile strength may decrease depending upon use or storage conditions.

* NFPA 1983, 2017 edition does not make specific statements as to number of years of service life.

Annex A Explanatory Material

  • "Annex A is not part of the requirements of this document but is included for informational purposes only
  • A.5.1.1.8, para. 6: "It is recommended that departments establish an inspection program and shelf-life criteria for their ropes based on the conditions and environments encountered in their respective operations.
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