Technical Rope Rescue

The Technical Rope Rescue Team is a technical specialty team of El Dorado County Search and Rescue. The Team is deployed at the direction of the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department. The focus of the team is the extraction of subjects that are unreachable with non-technical resources. The Team is trained to perform technical rope rescue operations in wilderness environments, or structures such as bridges and towers. The team performs extrications in the vertical, steep and low angle realms. The Team also supports the Swift Water Team for insertion and extractions of their rescuers into areas with difficult accessibility.

The Team is comprised of volunteers from El Dorado County and neighboring counties. Volunteers come to the team with a variety of experience or with just an interest in technical rope rescue. There are many roles to fill within a technical rope rescue team and operation. Not everyone is interested in “going over the edge” and this Team doesn’t require members to do so. Some members are interested in the art of rigging and others like ‘hanging on rope’. Team members are cross-trained in all critical elements but are allowed to find and focus in their area of preference.

To perform technical rope rescue operations, a significant level of specialized gear and equipment is required. The Team maintains an ample inventory of cutting edge rescue-rated gear and equipment. Although it’s not required, many members of the Team use their own personal gear and equipment; the Team provides rescuer gear for those who do not.

The environment in which the Team performs requires advanced-level technical expertise and considerable practice. Team members participate in ongoing classroom and field training in:

  • physics of building anchors and mechanical advantage systems
  • elements required to construct and operate safe and efficient raising/lowering systems
  • clean rigging techniques
  • scene safety, size-up and management
  • scenario-based rope-rescue evolutions
  • rescuer and subject safety
  • system safety evaluation
  • trouble-shooting and problem solving
  • techniques to secure a subject in the vertical realm

The El Dorado County SAR Technical Rope Rescue Team is committed to a team approach wherein the leadership values the input and perspective of every team member in order to continuously expand the capacities and capabilities of the team.