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"Etobicoke Guardian" Newspaper

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"Etobicoke Guardian" Newspaper

 

High-rise specialists save lives, earn living inspecting buildings
By Vince Versace

Using a natural instinct to hang from the side of buildings like Spiderman has given Etobicoke’s Ivan Kristoff a high profile career as a highrise emergency specialist.

“I love being out there because everyday is different,” the 33-year-old Kristoff said, “The challenge is always coming up with new solutions. I am not afraid of things up there. I ma more afraid of slipping when I am on the ground.”

Kristoff is the founder of Eiger Highrise Emergency Aerial Response Team, an independent, non-profit, professional high-rise rescue team. The team has exceptional knowledge of rigging and rope rescue, first aid and communications.

“We have shaped new industry trends for window washing and caulking in ther high rise industry,” said Kristoff, a former member of the Bulgarian army.

Thweelve thousand existing high-rise buildings and growing construction industry in Ontario were a rescue landscape never considered before, Kristoff believes. Property managers and development firms like Monarch and Tridel have used Kristoff’s climbing expertise. His team has helped stranded window washing crews and high-rise construction workers.

”We can be very efficient and our resources are unlimited for inspections. Also, we use the very best equipment,” explained Kristoff.

The specialized approach Eigerr HEART team has distinguishes it from the way a fire department can possibly engage in rescues.

Kristoff notes fire departments unfortunately do not have the money or time available to develop such specialized skills. Kristoff has worked with the Ministry of Labour on guidelines fro high-rise rescues and hopes his team will be officially recognized in emergency response plans.

”One worker’s life saved is worth it. We have the technology available to do this work.”

Removing large icicles from a downtown high-rise, perilously hanging above pedestrians and traffic below, is an example of Kristoff’s unique abilities he used at work three years ago. He was suspended 34 storeys high with 75 miles per hour winds swirling around him as he cut one icicle at a time and brought it to the ground.

”When I saw it, I said what a beautiful picture, I wanted more water so there would be more ice.”

Exterior wall inspections, anhor installations and video surveys of buildings is how the team raises money since actual rescues are not everyday occurrence. The work is done under the company name of Eiger Rope Access Work Inc. His team recently did the caulking on one of the Mystic Pinte buildings in South Etobicoke.

”We are like a family with the people in the building industry: they recognize the value of our work.” Eiger HEART can be reached via internet connection at www.verticalrescue.com

Photo: Ivan Kristoff obviously doesn’t mind heights as he hangs off the side of a Monarch Development buildings inspecting plans.