OZ Lifting Products LLC has donated two 1-ton capacity beam clamps to the Kingman Unit of Mohave County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue team, a voluntary organization that plays a central role during emergencies in Mohave County, Arizona.
The Kingman rescue team has approx. 40 members who primarily cover the central and eastern region of Mohave County. The model OZ1 BCA-MR clamps will allow the technical rope rescue team to conduct rappel training at a Golden Valley Fire District facility.
Amanda Kaufman, captain of the Kingman search and rescue unit, explained that the clamps will be used to support a rappel line from an overhead beam during a training drill based on one of the most hazardous disciplines it encounters—short-haul rescue from an operational helicopter. Rescuers use the rappel line and practice braking and releasing techniques.
She said: “The clamps are new to the inventory. The team was looking for a specific clamp to meet the criteria for an upcoming [training] session we had with the technical rope rescue team. We were going to repurpose an existing item but upon discussions [with OZ] it was evident that the beam clamp would be perfect for the application.”
The rope team covers the breadth of Mohave County, located in the northwestern corner of Arizona, where it has to be equipped to work in varied terrain that presents challenging rescue environments. Rappels can be land- or air-based and the beam clamps will be used in various scenarios. The technical rope rescue team trains quarterly with the helicopter, performing a number of operations using a 0.5 in. diameter, 150 ft.-long rope.
During these sessions, they learn how to package up a person using several different tools and hang from the rope while they are moved a short distance to a command post or another area that may be accessible to vehicles so the individual can be transported for medical care.
Kaufman said: “There have been several incidents over the past few years where rappelling was the only way to reach the rescue scene. Sometimes these rescues are assisted by [Arizona Department of Public Safety] helicopter crews. Our technical rope rescue team can construct some amazing systems to be able to reach the stranded individual when the need arises. There have been many searches where we went out in the late evening looking for someone that had become lost or reported missing, and ended up staying the night in the search area. It’s demanding—but rewarding—work.”
The Sheriff of each County in Arizona is responsible for all search and rescue operations – while there is no State funding. As a result, volunteer support fills the void and they constantly seek donations and funding to support the rescue operations. The Kingman Mohave County Sheriff's Office Search & Rescue Inc. (founded in the 1960s) has built up an inventory of rescue-related tools. The team operates a maintenance log for all line safety rescue kit and all items are cleaned and inspected after use prior to storage for the next mission, Kaufman confirmed.
“So others may live,” she added. “That is why we have teams internationally that make themselves available and volunteer on search and rescue. I think it really says something when in the middle of dinner with family, a call comes in that someone needs help, and we have searchers that put everything down and head out to assist that person at a moment’s notice. It’s an amazing feeling to find that person and help them—a lost child or injured hiker with a broken ankle.”
OZ offers a complete line of beam clamps designed for fall protection and material handling. Man-rated versions are available in 1, 2, 3, 5 and 10-ton capacities; the company also offers man-rated trolleys in 0.5 and 1-ton capacities. The OZ1 BCA-MR, with a net weight of just 9 lbs., has a safe working load (SWL) of 2,000 lbs., rated to 400 lbs. for fall protection.