Author Topic: Emergency Rapelling Rope and Bosun Chair  (Read 2582 times)

Offline Black November

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Emergency Rapelling Rope and Bosun Chair
« on: October 04, 2013, 02:51:57 PM »
My office is on the 6th floor of a high rise building in Seattle. I would like to keep a decent 100ft+ rope in my office in case the stairs are blocked by fire.

I am not a rock climber, but have attended some basic rockclimbing classes and scaled a 60ft indoor wall which is comparible to the height of my office window. What kind of setup is recomemded for getting me and my other co-workers out alive via window? What type of rope? decenders or other gear would I need? Preferably reasonably priced.

(I am envisioning some kind of Bosun Chair and improvised pulley system.)

Offline soupbone

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Re: Emergency Rapelling Rope and Bosun Chair
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2013, 04:27:32 PM »
If I were you, I'd google "Emergency Escape Ladders" or similar wording. Where lives are at stake - others' lives especially - is not the time to try to go cheap or wing it. Likewise, don't "improvise" a pulley system. Seattle should have a good selection of ship chandlers, or supply houses, that could build you the rigging that you need. May not be the cheapest, but....

Second point - are all of your co-workers capable of escaping in this manner? There are alternatives that would allow you to avoid the situation of, "We all made it out safe, except for Jane, who fell off the ladder...." Likewise, can you even open your windows wide enough to get through? I know it sounds stupid, but many newer or renovated buildings have windows that can't be opened - you have to rely on the building's HVAC for heating or cooling. High rise buildings have windows that are notoriously hard to break for safety's sake.

Thirdly, if your building is anywhere close to code - or built/renovated since the '80s - you might be better off sheltering in place. In a modern, reinforced concrete structure, you are better off sealing the doors and waiting for rescue than you are trying to make it through a smoke filled corridor. Reinforced concrete is fireproof, and if the fire is not in your office, you may never know there is one in your building. I've seen that happen. In any event, sheltering in place is a far better alternative than trying to climb or rappel  down 60'. On the outside of a building. On a blistery winter day.

If you are that concerned, you might want to invest in emergency escape hoods. Search the Forum - there's plenty of good information here. Ignore the ads, the "certifications", testimonials and "test results" - look for OSHA and MSHA approval. Period. No OSHA/MSHA approval - no purchase.

If you are in a supervisory or management position, you might request a speaker from the Seattle Fire Department / Fire Prevention Bureau to make a presentation to your staff on High Rise Fire Safety. If you are not in a position to act directly, you might suggest it to management [but be low-keyed when you do].

Hope this helps,