15 Jul "Brampton Guardian" Newspaper
Daredevil’s love of the “high lite” turns into a full-time occupation
By Sabrina Divell
Ivan Kristoff is just as comfortable 34 stories in the air as he is with both feet planted on the ground.
Since the age of 10, Krisoff has always said he was born to hang upside down at heights a normal person would never consider safe because of his fascination for extreme situations like caving, hang-gliding, and extreme skiing. Now as the founder of Eiger Highrise Emergency Aerial Response Team (HEART), and the Canadian Rescue Emergency Team (CREST), this dare-devil took the risk of turning his passion of chancing death into a career.
With the help of several volunteers, these non-profit groups have participated in emergency rescue situation that the normal firefighter or police officer would never attempt.
“When I cam here form Bulgaria I was really shocked at how many highrise accidents happen in the GTA that call for experts in aerial rescue,”said Kristoff.
He and his team have assisted in all kinds of rescues from window cleaning crews stranded on their scaffolding to construction workers who have gotten caught up in their safety harness ropes.
Kristoff said on of the first jobs his tram had was removing large icicles that were dangling off a building’s roof threatening the morning rush hour traffic on the streets below. His team helped secure ropes that were holding Kristoff while others blocked off the area on the ground in case any ice pieces fell.
Now HEART gas gained more credible recognition and Kristoff said with two pilots, two technicians, a paramedic and one twin engine helicopter, there isn’t much his team can’t do.
Kristoff graduated from the Technical College in Mechanical Engineering in Sofia, Bulgaria, and has gained experience and an instructor, ultralight pilot, photographer, videographer and climber.
The majority of the jobs HEART has done have been through word of mouth but Kristoff said the team’s contact numbers are on the files with the majority of fire departments in the GTA and the emergency services numbers.
Because HEART is a non-profit volunteer group, Kristoff relies on his full time business, Eiger Rope Access Leaders, to help pay his bills.
This business provides construction companies with real-time exterior wall inspections, photo/video surveys and broadcasts, remote access anchor installations, caulking, renovations and repairs.
He has spent his entire live taking risks and “scaring his mother half to death,” but Kristoff said there isn’t too much he can do that scares him.
“The only thing that scares me is when the situations get out of control, but the key is to recognize the dangers involved and avoid that,” said Kristoff. HEART is available 24 hours a day and can be reached by calling … For more information on services or demonstration dates, visit www.verticalrescue.com
Photo: Daredevil Ivan Kristoff