Highrise Emergency Aerial Response Team (H.E.A.R.T.)

by Ivan Kristoff, Founder of H.E.A.R.T.

“I would like to introduce a new concept for the high rise development industry. 

There are over 25,000 high-rises and  constantly growing building development in Ontario, but there is no specially trained urban rope rescue unit to respond efficiently to emergencies in inaccessible places. Events, such as the Skyway Bridge in St. Catherines in 1993 and other rope access related incidents have shown that lives could have been saved if such a team existed. It is crucial to be prepared for the unexpected. It is crucial to be prepared for the unexpected.

Accidents have become more complicated. The solution for preventing them, or efficiently responding when they do occur, is to organize an emergency response team that is trained and equipped specifically for this task. This could be a team of highly qualified professionals and rope access technicians with knowledge in rigging and rope rescue, first aid, communications and bylaws. They could meet regularly to discuss, upgrade, practice and teach safety, rescue and emergency procedures in conjunction with other emergency services.

Because situations differ from building to building, or bridge to bridge, it’s crucial that this team is prepared to perform in the most unpredictable environment. In the case of an emergency, they could be called anywhere, any time, and with the cooperation of the emergency service providers (or on their own) commence high-angle rescue operations. In no time, the rescuers can descend, if necessary, on the location where the accident has taken place, and videotape the site, or any details of the investigation.

Living on the edge is what “ropers” do for a living. With an industry, being ranked as one of the most dangerous, I want to give the workers a chance for a safer future. I am, therefore, currently organizing a Highrise Emergencye Aerial Rescue Team, a non-profit organization that consists solely of rope and aerial access experts. We are, by necessity, cost effective and efficient.

Our purpose is to minimize loss of life, injury, property damage and risk to the high-rise environment and maximize the rope rescue efficiency through innovation.

To fulfill our mission, our objectives are to enhance public safety through rescue and safety education, provide emergency response and assist in providing post-accident reports (with laptops, digital cameras and communications systems on-site) in inaccessible places. Eiger is preparing an Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan for project and property managers, as well as Accident Prevention Programs for rope access workers. We are currently in the process of establishing a Highrise Rope Rescue Institute and an International Rope Rescue Multimedia Database.

The Team has the skills necessary for high-angle and high-altitude rope rescue operations. Beyond that our members strive to develop technically innovative concepts and advanced skills in the use of high-tech equipment and communications.

Team members donate their time for training and emergency operations. They train and practice a wide variety of skills in the field of rope access, including rock and wall climbing, helicopter rappelling and ascending, use of technical rope rescue systems in extreme situations, aerial video and photography, radio communication, and first aid.

In collaboration with participating government and volunteer organizations, we intend to provide high-angle rescue and airborne support for:
– 911 Emergency Services
– Urban Highrise Rope Rescue
– Enhancing community-based emergency response services

We are  about people helping people. We relish being in extreme conditions, critical  situations and search for every  opportunity to exercise our skills.”

About The Team

The Highrise Emergency and Air Response Team (H.E.A.R.T.) is a nonprofit organization focused on growing the rope access methodology and promoting safer procedures in vertical and aerial operations. In the late 90’s of thr last century,  Ivan initiated the concept of the Team in Canada through a wide media and public demonstrations, discussion panels with members of the Toronto and Ontario Emergency Services personnel, and various SAR conferences, such as the SAR-Scene 97 and 98. In 2005, he established a Special Operations Service  (SOS) team in Bulgaria, a mirror/copy of H.E.A.R.T.

What We Do New

In Bulgaria, our first initiative was when Ivan traveled across the country with political leaders and government officials to promote the idea and gather information on the needs and weak points of the local Emergency Services.  Since then we have developed the I.V.A.N. (International Vertical Access Network) program for Aerial and Highrise Emergency Response and goal-setting strategies.

You can find out more about us in H.E.A.R.T. in the media

Air Rope access


Тhis year Ivan Kristoff and partners plan to open a new chapter in the aviation safety and air rope rescue – all at extreme heights.

After the success of the High-rise Emergency Response Team (HEART), which completed the first rope access to the top of the world’s highest tower in 2003.

Now, a decade later, a new challenge liys ahead. 2014 will be remembered with an increased series of missing airplanes. Most of them have crashed in the waters, but the history knows of many airplanes that have crashed in the high mountains, like the 1972 Andes flight disaster.


The team will join forces with some of the best professional, military and police pilots, to develop and implement new kinds of air rescue in a specialized training program and create a new High-altitude Emergency Response Team. Its main mission will be to respond to high-altitude SAR around the world.

Who says that there is no place for innovation on Mt. Everest? With the new team  E.V.E.R.E.S.T. (Extreme Vertical rEscue, Rope accEss and Safety insTructors) you can expand your knowledge in rope access and learn a new way of training for high-altitude SAR and helicopter rope rescue operations! More


Our first helicopter rappelling training began


World's first record for the highest high-rise rope access work



World's first record for the highest emergency response



Our extreme H.E.A.R.T. rescue training program will start

Our Code of Ethics

As emergency responders, our fundamental duty is to save and protect life, reduce suffering and assist in the reduction of the devastating aftermath caused by catastrophic events in the high-rise environment.

Under this Code of Ethics, if a member of the Eiger H. E. A. R. T. (Highrise Emergency Aerial Response Team) fails to uphold his or her duties, he or she will be expelled immediately from the team.

  • We will take maximum advantage of valuable skills and expertise in the field of high-rise emergency response and aerial/vertical rescue in order to minimize injuries, property damage and maximize the safety of the public.
  • We shall always be honest, loyal, brave and frugal in thought and action, abiding by and upholding our moral code.
  • We will establish and enhance our capabilities to save more lives of people in distress in the construction, high-rise development and management industry.
  • We shall train our skills for high-angle and high-altitude rope rescue in extreme conditions and harsh environment. We shall test our developed skills to the extreme boundaries of our performance.
  • We shall constantly strive to develop innovative concepts and advanced skills in the use of high-tech equipment and communications. Our equipment will be mercilessly tested in worst-case-scenario situations.
  • At all times we shall place public interest above individual, group, or special interests, and ensure the trust of the public in all our actions.
  • We will provide tasking agencies with the confidence to use the Eiger H.E.A.R.T. to greater aerial and rope rescue effectiveness.
  • We shall assume responsibility for our actions and judgment, defining and upholding our moral values and conduct of operations.

What We Do Best

In the New Millennium,Ivan Kristoff solved the biggest challenges on the tallest super high‐rise buildings. Now, he has a new challenge – to set up a new way for offering training programs by using the Internet and Social media as the main source for promoting the initiatives of the Institute for Vertical Access Operations (I.V.A.N). Through a web based platform, we will create the Virtual Institute as the source for enrolling in courses. Every instructor from around the world will have his profile and training program on the dedicated website, and when students want to take his classes and book enough space, they will enroll in the classes.

The Institute will develop the next generation of leaders in multiple rope access disciplines, who exemplify excellence both in and outside the field of vertical operations.


First time in the aerial and vertical world


  • Rope climbing suspended from a flying helicopter
  • Rope descending from a balloon
  • Descending with a motorcycle from the roof of a high building
  • Aerial video surveillance via 4G technology

Training for SAR missions


Members of the team will soon showcase some of their training for extreme skiing and Mountain SAR.

See: Mountain Rescue

See: Mountain training base

See: Training concept

See: E.V.E.R.E.S.T.