AZTEK System: What’s on Your Harness?


CMC Rescue’s AZTEK ProSeries® System can be worn on waist or thigh.

When you think about what to carry on your harness, make sure that what you carry will foot the bill for a multiplicity of uses. The less an item can be applied as a virtual panacea for all rigging situations, the farther back it should be placed on the priority list of things to carry on the hip. More often than not, I end up with a few trusted versatile items that I know will get me out of trouble in the end. One for sure is the traditional edge kit, and none is a better multitasker than the Arizona Technician’s Edge Kit. Better known as the AZTEK, this non-specialized kit includes a travel restrict/fall arresting feature and reverse reeve set-of-fours (SOFs) all packed into one kit. Having the versatile AZTEK on the harness also allows the rescuer to pass knots easily, correct disoriented equipment under load, transfer loads, establish dynamic fixed brakes as well as be used for a travel restrict.

Reed_Aztek_02_LRCMC AZTEK System being used as an M:A for back-tying a floating anchor.


The personal end of the AZTEK System being used as a travel restrict.

The AZTEK’s double end exemplifies simplicity and efficiency. One zipper of a side pouch provides the rescuer with immediate edge protection. From a second zipper of the same pouch the rescuer/rigger can deploy the mini mechanical advantage SOFs in a multitude of rigging applications, including hauling systems, tensioned back-ties, tensioned guying for artificial high directional (AHD), dynamic traveling and fixed brakes.

With the SOFs as the pick-off unit for solo and semi-solo rescues, rescuers can decide on multiple options that allow versatility, depending on the circumstances dictated by the particular rescue. Dynamic fixed brakes (a fixed friction appliance/hitch in series with the SOFs) and dynamic traveling brakes (a traveling friction appliance in series with the SOFs) add immeasurable versatility to the rescue system. In some instances, the personal end is used in tandem with the SOFs end as a shock-absorbing lanyard safety to the victim.

Especially in the urban/industrial setting, the AZTEK provides a means of safe rappelling, ascending and belaying. This option is extremely valuable to the rescue endeavor in making rapid patient contact. For single person rappels 8 mm rope is more than adequate. A belay can easily be provided by a second AZTEK.

In addition to rappelling and ascending, the 5:1 (SOFs) end of the extended AZTEK is the perfect primary attachment device for the high-angle litter attendant, allowing very rapid and easy vertical adjustments. By repositioning the 6 mm ratchet, the personal SOFs can be transformed into a 4:1 CD scoop line for the foot end of the litter. When rescuers carry the components needed to lift, tension, release and lower on their harness, they intrinsically have the ability to get to work at the business of rescue when they arrive on the scene. Add to this the ability to fully and safely access the patient and remain tied off in an exposed area and you have something worthy of precious harness real estate.

by Reed Thorne
Ropes That Rescue
Sedona, AZ

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