The Rescue Belay

The belay is an important component of the system of raising and lowering persons who are ill or injured. Whenever possible, the person being moved should be on a belay that is independent of the mechanism that is being used for raising or lowering (fig. 17-2). With this independent belay, the victim is safeguarded in case of any disaster to the raising/lowering system, such as failure of the main anchor, rockfall damage to the rope, loss of the lowering brake or of the raising pulley, or injury to anyone operating the system. The belay anchor, independent of the main system anchor, should be constructed of multiple self-equalizing placements.

For belaying one person who is being raised or lowered, the belayer can use any standard belay device, maintaining it in a position that ensures maximum friction. Do not use a hip belay. For belaying two people at once, only the M (inter hitch provides a safe enough degree of friction. (For a review of the Miinter hitch, see Chapter 6.) The belayer should have the ability to continue lowering the victim if the original descent system fails. The belayer also should be able to safely carry out a knot bypass of the belay device (described later

TRANSPORT ON TECHNICAL TERRAIN ♦ 413

TRANSPORT ON TECHNICAL TERRAIN ♦ 413

Knots Belay Rescue
Fig. 17-2. Typical lower with he lay

in this chapter) if two or more ropes must be tied together for lowering.

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