Aerial Rescue Workshop

University of Minnesota

March 16, 2018



7:30AM - Climber gear check

8:00AM - Meet at Classroom for Check In, Entry Survey, coffee, snacks, and conversation

8:30AM - Classroom Instruction will begin - Section 1 - Emergency Preparedness

9:00AM - Classroom Instruction - Section 2 - Familiarization with common tools and techniques

9:45AM - Classroom Instruction - Section 3 - Using equipment at hand to perform work safely

10:30AM - Break

10:45AM - Discussion of Hypothetical Scenarios and questions about previous sections

11:30AM - Break for Lunch

12:30PM - Meet at Field Site to begin Field/Participant Component - Organize into functional groups and walk through scenarios with worksheets

Groundworker scenarios - basic climber scenarios - advanced climber scenarios for each functional group

1:30PM - Begin Participant Scenarios and Demonstrations

3:00PM - Break - walkthrough worksheet scenarios

3:30PM - Continue Field/Participant Component

4:30PM - Hand out take home worksheets, Exit Survey, ISA CEUs


A.                 Basic discussion of Aerial Rescue and Preparedness Importance

A.                 Emergency Preparedness

A.                 Training

A.                 Quarterly trainings

B.                 Prepare for scenarios relevant to scope of all work potentially performed

B.                 Equipment

 .                    First Aid Kit

A.                 Shock blankets

B.                 Cell phone with pre-programmed emergency response phone numbers

C.                 Extra climbing rope and kit

D.                 No excuse for no PPE

E.                 Binoculars and powerful flashlight

F.                  Flares or emergency beacon

C.                 Pre-job Briefings - plan for a rescue

 .                    Keep access to tree open

A.                 Create work plan around potential for rescue

B.                 Emergency plan document with address, appropriate jargon, aerial rescue flow-chart, etc.

D.                 Job site management

 .                    Keep brush and equipment clear to facilitate potential rescue

A.                 Situational awareness above productivity

E.                 Familiarity with tools/techniques being used and available

 .                    Recognize scenario and relevant limitations

A.                 SRT vs. DDRT

A.                 Failed rope or SRT system?

B.                 Canopy anchor vs. basal anchor

 .                    Failed anchor?

C.                 Natural vs. artificial anchor points and redirects

 .                    Failed anchor?

D.                 Failed tree component - recognize structural defects and loose materials

 .                    Failed anchor or re-direct?

B.                 Familiarization with common tools and techniques

 .                    Basal Anchors

 .                    Can you lift/lower using this basal anchor without unacceptable risk?

A.                 Canopy Anchors

 .                    Can you lift from the ground with a canopy cinch? When? When not?

B.                 DDRT and SRT positioning devices

 .                    Can you lift or lower using this device?

A.                 Can you use the pick-off method with this device?

B.                 What are the specific nuances and limitations with the particular device?

C.                 Ropes and their respective strengths/weaknesses

 .                    Can two climbers be suspended on this rope?

A.                 How much damage can the rope sustain and still safely lower a climber?

D.                 Natural vs. artificial anchor points and re-directs

 .                    Can you lift or lower with the re-direct?

A.                 What type of forces are necessary to lift/lower?

 .                    Does this require a Mechanical Advantage or Friction Management System?

C.                 Using the equipment at hand to perform work safely

 .                    Improvised Mechanical Advantage and Friction Management systems

 .                    Recognizing the forces in a scenario

 .                    Natural vs. artificial anchors and re-directs

A.                 Trunk wraps

B.                 Angles

A.                 Recognizing and utilizing tools at hand - extra climbing and rigging gear

 .                    Know your ropes and equipment!

B.                 Mechanical Advantage Systems

 .                    Using a lanyard, carabiners/screw links, and climbing rope to make a 3:1 and 5:1

A.                 Utilizing a rigging system to make a 3:1 and 5:1

B.                 Progress capture and lowering system utilizing extra cordage and hardware

C.                 Backing up a lifting system

C.                 Friction Management Systems

 .                    Using a lanyard and carabiner(s) to make munter hitch or stitch plate lowering system

A.                 Trunk wraps and climbing rope lowering system

B.                 Using a lanyard and figure-8 to make lowering system

C.                 Connecting two ropes under tension

D.                 Backing up a lowering system

D.                 Discussion of hypothetical scenarios

 .                    Use previously discussed information to “walk through” several scenarios adding more and more complexities

A.                 Provide handout of worksheet for participants to fill out while going through Field Stations - allows each Field Station to hypothetically be several Field Stations

B.                 Provide handout of worksheet for participants to take home to safety meetings or for personal development

 .                    worksheet to include more and more complex scenarios

 .                    Climber thought bee sting was pointy stick and goes into anaphylactic shock in tree

A.                 Climber with spinal damage tied into canopy cinch SRT vs. DDRT needs to be lifted up and out of bad union over power line

B.                 Climbers rope caught in free floating and rotating (windy day) crane pick

C.                 What if you can not see or hear the victim (neighboring airport, dense canopy)

D.                 What if you have to rescue the rescuer in all hypothetical scenarios?

B.                 Field/Participant Component - Since most electrical contact scenarios end up being fatal this component will focus on working near electrical conductors and avoiding contact during rescue. This isn’t a recovery workshop.

 .                    Part 1 - SRT and DDRT Floating False Crotch lowering/lifting scenarios

 .                    Straight Yosemite bowline tie-off

 .                    How to lift/lower from ground

A.                 Wrapped Yosemite bowline tie-off

 .                    Discussion of rope strength loss with knots…

A.                 How to lift/lower from ground Participant Scenario

B.                 Basal anchor with screw link onto ring termination

 .                    How to lift/lower from ground

C.                 Basal anchor with figure-8 termination

 .                    How to lift/lower from ground

D.                 Basal anchor with petzl Rig termination

 .                    How to lift/lower from ground

E.                 Basal anchor with 2nd climbing system termination

 .                    How to lift/lower from ground Participant Scenario

A.                 Part 2 - Climber “lowerable” but lanyard was on, so not “lowerable”

 .                    Out on a limb walk…

A.                 Out on a spar… Participant Scenario (with adjacent tree to tie into)

B.                 cut rope above positioning device

C.                 cut rope below positioning device

D.                 Climber lowerable, but over primaries

 .                    Introduction of re-directing a climber’s rope remotely

B.                 Part 3 - Failed Anchor/tree Discussion/Demo by Instructors

 .                    Canopy cinch/DDRT - T.I.P. fails but is still attached (cracks/splits/peels partially off) from side loading through re-direct or climber falling on long lateral limb walk

A.                 Basal anchor - limb shears off of T.I.P. and rope slides down trunk 5 plus feet to next union = 10 ft vertical fall - is rope still safe to use - potential for spinal injury?

B.                 Re-direct fails and slides down rope pinching/crushing lanyarded climber

 .                    Instructor Demo Scenario

C.                 Rigging re-direct fails and log piece wraps around climber’s line

D.                 Basal anchor damaged by falling piece, pole saw, groundsman’s/climber’s chainsaw

E.                 Climber ties into wrong side of canopy cinch - falls 10 feet - ok, but holding onto small branch

F.                  Climber injured on wrong side of wires - requires lift- redirect-and lower

G.                Failed anchor drops climber too close to wire for them to self-rescue or their incapacitated - must lift climber and redirect to lower without lowering or spinning climber

H.                Climber tail-tied and unable to be lowered to ground without tail-tie pulling climber into electrical conductor

I.                   Tie-in-point fails and is caught precariously on lateral branch - climber dangling in open space

More information, contact Chad Giblin and giblin@umn.edu



Winter Pruning Workshops
Focus on Tree Preservation
From Planting to Maturity

By Chad Giblin
Department of Forest Resources - University of Minnesota


Nearly six dozen arborists, landscape managers, parks workers, and maintenance staff joined University of Minnesota scientists and professional arborists to learn more about pruning trees in January, February, and March 2017. Workshops at both the Saint Paul and Duluth Campuses stressed the importance for timely and effective tree pruning beginning at planting and carrying forward into maturity.

Our Saint Paul workshops brought together staff from many different organizations.  In late January, UMN Landcare and the Davey Tree Expert Company joined us for a full-day workshop to cover the basics of developmental and structural pruning during the first 10 to 15 years of life. In March, a second campus workshop provided training for parks and public works staff from the City of Eden Prairie, City of Minnetonka, City of Prior Lake, and Washington County Parks. These workshops provided a great opportunity for a diverse group of practitioners to team up and problem solve pruning challenges. Work focused on a variety species and many different sizes of young trees. Also included was an examination of different work positioning techniques to provide safe and efficient access to young tree canopies.

(Fig. 1 - Using simple rope access equipment and techniques gives arborists an ideal work position to make the best pruning cuts.)

Pruning young trees is really about proactive tree preservation. When the proper pruning dose is applied at the ideal time, care is directed at creating a mature form that is structurally sound and able to resist branch failures during wind, snow, and ice loading events. When trees are smaller than eight inches pruning should focus on the transition from frequent nursery pruning schedules to those that are much less frequent in the landscape. The challenge lies in developing a functional mature crown while maintaining an attractive young form. In many cases a compromise in aesthetics is required to establish a strong canopy.

Proper pruning dose is the volume of canopy that can safely be removed during a single pruning event. Dose is calculated using several factors including tree establishment status, growth rate, inherent resistance to decay, and the time between pruning cycles. A dose that is too low or too high can have equally negative effects on the developing crown in a young tree.

The first step in pruning young trees is to identify a strong central leader. Next, the height of the lowest permanent scaffold branch should be established; this may be variable depending on the species and location. Trees located in public boulevards may require higher permanent canopy than those located in parks or on private property. Branches below permanent canopy are considered temporary and will need to be pruned to a smaller lateral branch to reduce or suppress their growth and eventually thinned at the main stem. All temporary branches need to be managed to keep them less than one-half the size of the stem where they are attached until permanent removal. This will minimize the wound size when they are thinned at the main stem and promote quicker wound closure. The exact size of the pruning cut will vary depending on the tree species and its growth rate as well as resistance to decay.

(Fig. 2 - Young lindens often require several courses of reduction pruning cuts to slow the growth of large temporary branches and codominant leaders.)

(Fig. 3 - UMN Landcare, Davey, and UMN Forest Resources staff at the January workshop.)

On February 17th we returned to Duluth, MN for the Second Annual Northeast Pruning Workshop hosted at University of Minnesota - Duluth. UMD generously provided the Bagley Classroom and Nature Center for our home base while giving access to the entire campus for teaching subjects. Joining the teaching staff this year were Louise Levy of Levy Tree Care, Liam McClannahan of Branch and Bough Tree Service and Landscape Care, and Hannibal Hayes of the City of Minnetonka.

(Fig. 4 - Hannibal Hayes discusses developmental pruning on a young tamarack - conifers also benefit from these techniques!)

Returning to the UMD campus allowed us to really examine how trees have been responding to the pruning performed last winter and give instructors opportunity to discuss and demonstrate proper pruning dose. When approaching medium sized trees ranging from 8 to 12 inches in diameter, pruning cuts should be kept relatively small and in the outer periphery of the canopy. As trees approach maturity their growth rates level off and some species may respond poorly to large pruning cuts, especially when made on the main stem. Knowing tree species profiles and their ability to resist decay is critical in making these decisions. In many cases, if a large branch doesn’t need to be removed for clearance it can simply be reduced to direct resources to higher, more central portions of the canopy.

(Fig. 5 - Liam McClanahan and Hannibal Hayes demonstrate proper branch reduction in a pair of Autumn Blaze Freeman maples.)

(Fig. 6 - Hannibal Hayes and Louise Levy continue work on developing mature canopy in an Autumn Blaze Freeman maple.)

This year we had a great opportunity to discuss and demonstrate techniques for managing large and mature trees. This includes trees in the 20 inch and greater DBH range and those with permanent established canopy. Larger trees really need to be assessed for structural defects that create risk due to targets below. These defects may include decay, branch inclusions, and codominant leaders as well as branch unions that are actively failing. The goal is to prevent or mitigate the effects of failure. Much like the approach with medium-sized trees, pruning cuts should focus on the outer canopy to reduce the sail on weak or defective branches. This can reduce the lever action on poorly attached unions and prevent failure during loading events. Cabling can be used to reduce the load on these unions as well. Liam spent time with the participants discussing options for canopy preservation using both static and dynamic cabling techniques that complement the pruning techniques demonstrated throughout the day.

(Fig. 7 - Liam McClannahan discusses cabling options for mature trees.)

(Fig. 8 - Workshop participants had a chance to try out rope access techniques under the expert guidance of Louise Levy and Hannibal Hayes.)

I would like to thank the Minnesota Turf & Grounds Foundation and the Minnesota Society of Arboriculture for their financial and in-kind support of these workshops. Also many thanks to all of our attendees, it’s been great seeing so many new and returning faces at these workshops! Your attendance makes all of this possible.


Northeast MN Pruning Workshop

February 16, 2018 @ 7:00 AM – 3:00PM


Location: Bagley Nature Center, Duluth
Cost: $95 non-member, $80 MSA/MTGF member

Join us for a full day, hands-on workshop at the University of Minnesota – Duluth Campus. This workshop focuses on developmental and structural pruning techniques including management options for trees of all sizes. The workshop will also include species factors in management choices, managing client/homeowner expectations, identifying and managing structural defects, and comparing work techniques to accomplish pruning. Also included is a demonstration of different cabling techniques using both steel (static) and dynamic cabling systems and a discussion of their role in tree preservation.

This workshop is designed for professionals with little or no pruning experience to those with developing pruning skills. Please bring your favorite pruning gear including hand shears and pruning saws.

*Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is required for this event*
*Please bring eye protection, gloves, and a hard hat or helmet*

Coming soon!

Continuing Education Benefits:

  • Minnesota Tree Inspector (Full Recertification through 2019)
  • 6 ISA Certified Arborist CEUs
  • 3 MNLA-CP CEUs

Presented by:

  • University of Minnesota – Department of Forest Resources
  • Minnesota Society of Arboriculture
  • Minnesota Turf and Grounds Foundation

Featuring Arborist Teaching Staff from:

  • Branch and Bough Tree Service & Landscape Care
  • Levy Tree Care
  • City of Minnetonka
  • University of Minnesota – Department of Forest Resources

trees.umn.edu/ne-pruning for more information.
Registration questions – Danielle at dtessmer@msa-live.org
Workshop questions – Chad Giblin at 






The mission of the Minnesota Turf and Grounds Foundation is to promote the green industry in Minnesota through support of research, education and outreach at the University of Minnesota and elsewhere. The MTGF pursues its mission in various ways. One of these is an annual "Call For Proposals," titled the "MTGF Research Gift Program," whereby researchers, instructors and outreach faculty and staff involved in turf and grounds work may submit requests for unrestricted gifts to support their activities. As a 501(c)(3) corporation, funding approved by the MTGF will not be subjected to overhead or other indirect charges or costs. The dates for submission, review and approval may change on an annual basis as well as the protocol stipulated for the submission of gift requests.

Minnesota Turf and Grounds Foundation
P. O. Box 617, Wayzata, MN 55391
Phone: 952-473-3722

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