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Thread: FDNY Trial Suspended As Safety Rope Frays

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    FDNY Trial Suspended As Safety Rope Frays

    FDNY TRIAL SUSPENDED AS SAFETY ROPE FRAYS

    By TODD VENEZIA

    October 12, 2005 -- A ballyhooed rope- and-harness safety device distributed to city firefighters just last week has already been suspended from use

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    FDNY pulls back ropes

    FDNY pulls back ropes

    By TONY SCLAFANI
    DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

    The FDNY yanked its new safety ropes after one jammed and frayed during a drill, leaving a firefighter dangling yesterday - a week after the highly touted lifesavers debuted.

    "Members issued the personal safety system at the Bureau of Training are ordered to immediately stop using the system," read a memo sent to firehouses across the city yesterday.

    Training with the ropes was temporarily suspended, while baffled officials ordered them turned in so they can figure out what went wrong.

    The rope systems, which cost $11 million to research and develop, were ordered after Lt. Curtis Meyran and Firefighter John Bellew leaped to their deaths from a window at a Jan. 23 Bronx blaze.

    Four other firefighters were seriously injured in the 50-foot plunge.

    "A great deal of research and evaluation has gone into developing this system, and we want to be certain that the equipment we provide our firefighters is fail-safe," Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta said last night.

    But Meyran's widow, Jeanette, feared the ropes would never be returned.

    "They've dragged their feet long enough. They dropped the ball when they took the [old] ropes away [in 2000] and that was on a temporary basis," said Meyran, 46, who has filed a lawsuit against the city. "This should be their No. 1 priority, the safety of the men."

    The ropes were pulled after a firefighter was left dangling in midair at the Randalls Island Fire Academy yesterday when a descent control device jammed, sources said.

    When he got down, instructors found the device had chewed up the rope - made up of bulletproof Kevlar - leaving the outer layer "seriously frayed," but the core intact, sources said. It was the first jump with that rope.

    The sources said the unidentified firefighter was pulling on the rope behind him - a technique used with the old ropes but not needed with the new ones. Officials are probing if that led to the malfunction.

    Officials called Petzl, the French company that made the device specifically for the FDNY, and has brought in a consultant to study the problem.

    "It's disappointing," said one firefighter. "But I'd rather them make sure they get it right before they put it out there."

    About 250 ropes have been distributed since the department proudly unveiled them at a ceremony Oct. 4.

    In eight months of research and training, descent devices had jammed before, but no rope ever frayed, sources said. The sources noted there were no problems in the vast majority of 7,500 rope slide tests.

    The ropes are supposed to hold up to 5,000 pounds and withstand 1,100 degrees for four minutes.

    Despite the mishap, Scoppetta said he is hopeful the 3-pound rope systems - created by an FDNY research team - ultimately will prove to be "the best piece of equipment available to protect our firefighters."

    The old ropes were scrapped in 2000, largely because of their weight and bulkiness. Fire officials vowed to get new ropes after the deaths of Meyran and Bellew.

    The new, lighter ropes allow a firefighter to jump out a window in 10 seconds, considerably faster than the older models.

    http://www.nydailynews.com/front/sto...p-302557c.html

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