15 Jul "Daily Commercial News" – Highrise heros ready to tackle any emergency
By Grant Cameron, staff writer
Toronto – A group of climbers and rappelers has offered to do free emergency highrise-rescue work for Toronto’s construction industry.
Ivan Kristoff, the owner of Eiger Rope Access Work, has a team of more than a dozen skilled “ropers” who can be called on on a pinch to do all types of risky high-angle rescue work.
“Our purpose is to save lives, reduce suffering and assist in reduction of the devastating aftermath caused by catastrophic events in the highrise environment.” Kristoff say in an interview.
HEART rescue team works free of charge
“Living on the edge is what ropes do for a living. I want to give the workers a second chance and safer future”…
Kristoff, whose company does rigging and caulking, inspections, vent-installation, painting and other work on highrise buildings, assembled the special team because there is no urban rope access rescue unit within the construction industry to respond to an emergency.
With more than 10,000 highrise buildings – and more being build – Kristoff felt there was a need for the special team, which has been named the Highrise Emergency And Rescue Team (HEART).
Kristoff has hand-picked members of the team. THey’re skilled in a variety of disciplines including rock, climbing, helicopter rappelling and ascending, aerial video, photography, first aid, radio communications and using rope rescue systems in extreme situations.
Kristoff himself is an expert in rigging and rope-rescue work. He has been in the vertical world for more than `6 years.
He’s a mechanical engineering graduate who acquired his skills through training in the Bulgarian military. He’s an experienced climber, ultra-light pilot, ham radio operator, photographer and videographer.
Kristoff, who is now working to improve construction safety rules with respect to rope access work and suspended access equipment, has set up the special team as an independent, non-profit group. Each of the members donate their time.
“We don’t want any money or anything.” he said. “We just want to help others, to make sure that if something happens once in awhile, we can respond.”
The Team is prepared to work with emergency services people at the scene of a highrise accident. Kristoff hopes that eventually they will become part of the 011 emergency response system.
In addition to rescue work, Kristoff said his members are able to descend to a site where an accident occurred and videotape it.
He said it’s important to have a team specially trained in highrise rescue operations because circumstances change all the time.
For example, he said there are sometimes strong crosswinds at the tope and sides of a building in the city and emergency services personnel must know how to handle themselves in that type of environment.
“Because the situation changes from building to building or bridge to bridge, it’s crucial that this team is prepared to perform in the most unpredictable environment, anywhere, anytime.” he said
“In the case of an emergency, they would be called. Kristoff has been giving construction firm owners a number they can call him at in the event and emergency occurs on one of their high rises.
“What we’re doing now is pithicng it to construction firms. If they get an emergency they can call us.” Kristoff said.
Firms can find out more about the service by calling Kristoff…