Thursday, 28 February 2013


Young girl “What are these? “
Coastguard Rescue Officer “They are carabiners”
Young girl “But what are they?”

Well they’re not people from the Caribbean. They’re a piece of climbing equipment used by Coastguard teams to attach themselves and other equipment, (such as bags, stretchers etc.) quickly and safely to ropes. More here:-

The ‘gate’ in the centre allows the rope to be passed into the centre of the device and then forcibly snaps shut, a locking nut then screws over the gate to stop it opening. A red bar provides quick visual indication if these are not locked. Often during training our sector manager Allan will deliberately leave one on red to make sure the team check and recheck the equipment is safe. (Don’t worry he doesn’t do it when someone’s attached though!) It’s good practice and everyone’s checking for any ‘on red’

Above: 'Open'
Below 'Closed'

Whilst only small they have a huge amount of strength, ours have a loading rating of 28kn top to bottom and 7 kn side to side.

We have 35 in total and each is inspected monthly on kit night to ensure they are clean and not missing, or broken. Each has it’s own unique number and each is signed for as they are passed fit for use. During a rescue or training situation each is checked as we take them out of the bag and again when they go away; broken or suspect ones are labelled and put in a quarantine bag for proper inspection later. Broken kit is sent away for proper evaluation and immediately replaced not repaired. The yellow tape marks Swanage kit, St Albans our flank team use blue.

It might sound like a bit over the top, all the checking and re-checking but it soon becomes second nature and is crucial for ensuring the safety of the team and the casualty.

No comments: