Training for a rescue at 50 feet

Backstage at the Keller Auditorium, IATSE Local 28 members Tom Bugas, Conrad Burmester, and Bill Ritchie got a hands-on demonstration of rope access gear Jan. 21.

Backstage at the Keller Auditorium, 40 Portland-area IATSE members got a hands-on demonstration of rope access gear as part of a series of four day-long fall protection class offered by their union.  IATSE members often spend time at great heights — hoisting gear at rock concerts or setting up and operating truss-mounted spotlights.  The union is working with film, theater and concert employers to improve members’ readiness to quickly rescue a coworker in the event of an accident. 

When IATSE members work at height, they’re protected by personal fall arrest systems that include a harness and a shock-absorbing lanyard. But being suspended in the harness after a fall can itself be fatal if they’re not rescued within 15 to 30 minutes. 

The fall protection classes were paid for by a grant from the IATSE International Training Fund. Classes were led by journeyman fall protection trainer Inger Brandal of Seattle’s IATSE Local 15, and were hosted by Portland IATSE Local 488 and IATSE Local 28 in partnership with the Western Washington Theatrical Training Trust.  —DM

Instructor Inger Brandal, in yellow climbing helmet, is leading safety classes 

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