2002 1st Special Response Group.
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Technical rescue of subjects from trees, tree platforms, and related situations.

Last update - 11/10/03

I was approached about providing a course to a group interested in providing medical care and rescue to individuals working in a tree environment who were not part of a commercial logging operation. I presented this problem to members of the Mountain Rescue Association community and received a lot of assistance, and a lot of interest.

This page briefly summarizes the information I gathered, mostly in the forms of URLs relating to the subject. If you have any additional information to contribute to this collection, please contact me. (email)

Best Resource

The best possible resource for conducting this sort of rescue will often be an arborist company. They work in this environment daily and are trained in normal work procedures as well as rescue procedures. Many of the arborist training firms provide tree rescue training as part of their course offering. These courses are generally geared towards a team member on the ground rescuing another member from the tree they are working on. Some examples are follow. These links do not consitute an endorsement and are provided as examples only.

Aerial rescue qualification is required as industry best practice by all reputable contractors in the UK.

The International Society of Arboriculture coordinates the International Tree Climbing Competition (ITCC). (Their site is a good reference for learning about the aborist industry in general.)

Aerial rescue is one of the elements of the Tree Climbing Competition.

Other Resources

I was unable to find any MRA teams that had established protocols for conducting tree rescues.

The Phoenix Fire Department has a written protocol for Tree Rescue which can be found here.

Potential Instructors

I talked with several instructors while researching this. Each of these individuals was professional, knowledgeable, and a pleasure to work with. At this time I cannot comment on the quality of the instruction as it has not occured yet. If you are interested in similar instruction, you might start by contacting them.

(To be filled in. Waiting for permission from the instructors.)


The following links are guides for conducting tree rescues. They are not a substitute for training and are provided as examples only.

Self Rescue for Affected Groups

Various groups operate in an environment that contribute to needing rescue from a tree. Self rescue is the prefered solution whenever possible for a variety of reasons - remoteness, access, ability, embarassment, etc. The arborists train for tree rescue assuming that one worker is always on the ground and available to rescue their partner. Parasailers focus more on self rescue as there are no assurances that additional resources are available. Some examples of training programs and equipment kits for self-rescue for parasailers follow. (Insert standard disclaimer here.)


Accident Reports

I could find very few accident reports relating to this topic. I'd welcome any pointers to additional reports.

Medical Considerations

The medical literature relating to this topic is very sparse. One of the more common concerns will be "harness hang". The following paper covers the topic extensively and references most of the other major papers on the topic. It is a must read. (Thank you to Phillip Bishop for the reference.)

HSE Health & Safety Executive Harness suspension: review and evaluation of existing information Prepared by Paul SEDDON for the Health and Safety Executive CONTRACT RESEARCH REPORT 451/2002. (PDF File)