03 Jan Don’t Crack Under Fire
#DontCrackUnderFire is our new moto
If you spend millions of dollars on preparations and installment of dangerous and hazardous materials on the exterior of highrise building and leave it in the hands of low paid rope access technicians, then you have to be prepared to invest millions of dollars in property damage, PR Damage Control and lose millions of dollars from the Highlight on the Highrise Rescue bad publicity.
To be prepared for the unexpected is what motivated my interest to look into innovative ways for high-rise rescue and to see behind the corners what other don’t.
The best paid consultants are those who can predict the future: Over a decade ago, I tested the concept for a Highrise Emergency Aerial Response Team on the top exterior of the tallest free-standing structure in the world. That was the iconic structure CN TOWER – world’s tallest.
Just a year later, I conducted the first damage repairs over the world’s tallest restaurant. In both case, I could not trust anyone but myself to do this job, neither there was anybody trained well enough to trust to do the job or rescue me if things go wrong. That is because I knew that all other organizations could reach the level of quality work that I set the standards for. The people and companies that trusted me to work on their “Billion dollar” property and the symbol of Canadian engineering and achievement, deserved the best job. That is why I could not perform anything less and did not let anyone who has not passed the Test of time to do what was required from me. My team members could only observe and learn. That was the right concept, though conventional wisdom and safety standards stipulate it as mandatory to have somebody to work by my side. But my thinking and work of process is above conventional wisdom and handbooks. Any rope access tech and company must be more responsible than that. Because if thing can go wrong up there, at extreme heights, winds and conditions, you risk the life and wellbeing of the person next to you.
An another year later, when I was up there on the very top of the urban world and engineering feat, at the height of 555 meters off the ground, standing on the pinnacle of a tiny hatch, I realized that this is the limit at that time for rope access and even when someone builds a taller tower, the top boundary of rope access work will the height of the new world’s tallest building. Not even a millimeter higher! So, the solution to be ahead of the predicted Manned made on Natural Disasters caused problems on the exterior of super high-rises is to create a rope rescue team that can handle emergencies above the height of any tower.
That is why I decided to step back from the rope access and focus on creating the most elite rope rescue team that can do operations that no one can do…
Now, even the most recognized rope access work and safety trade associations focus on profiting by using the SAFETY factor. But their focus should be as well on the quality of service too, because the consequences of poor quality rope access work on the exterior of high-rises can result in the injuries of many people, can cause millions of dollars in Damage Control and end with fatal incidents.
At the time when I conducted the first exterior repair at 1725′ during winter extreme conditions and winds above 60km/h, IRATA, (Industrial Rope Access Trade Association),a British born business association for rope access work spread aggressively its monopoly around the world and tried to enforce their rules in Ontario, Canada. Before 1995, when I got in a Safety Technical Committee on suspended access in the highrise exterior building maintenance and construction industry, there were 5 death casualties from window washers hanging on ropes alone in Ontario. I proposed some changes in the By-Laws, which we revised and the result was in 0 (zero) accidents over the decade in which I was working in Toronto and Ontario. When I moved my business in Europe in 2005, there was the first accident with 4 people dead, etc… As people said, the difference of my disappearance was obvious. So, since I extended my business to real estate development and invested in building a low-rise rope recue training facility and own a property to build a high-rise Institute for Vertical Operations, I am creating a Rescue Lab that will work on innovative ways and create new product for rope rescue.
An IRATA representative wanna-be wanted to convince me to join him and implement the IRATA rules in the Technical committee and enforce them as mandatory in the Ontario Ministry of Labour guidelines for rope access and work at height and prohibit the existent rope access equipment and work procedures. I told him that monopoly does not work in Canada and dictators are not tolerated around the world. Just see what happened to Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi, etc… Instead on monopoly, they should focus on common sense that is good for all people involved in the business and quality.
The problem that a few IRATA high profile technicians shared with me is that the business interest is taking over the focus on safety, quality of examination of students exams when they get their certifications and the falls reports on incidents that cover up some injuries and fatalities. That is why there is inconsistency in the Anual reports on safety lately.
Now with my new project I will open a new chapter in the history of fire rescue. Just watch the development of this idea on www.verticalrescue.com