MIS304 Aerial Rescue 2nd ed.


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This is one in a series of Minimum Industry Standards (MISs) produced by Arboriculture Australia Ltd and the New Zealand Arboricultural Association in consultation with the national arboriculture community in both countries. These industry peer-reviewed documents provide a ‘body of knowledge’ which is shared by practitioners and can be used as the basis for training, dissemination of skills and professional development. 

This standard covers the basics of preparing for, practising and undertaking aerial rescue. Many rescue situations may arise to which arborists will be unable to respond without professional assistance. Nevertheless, the techniques presented in this MIS form a solid foundation on which practitioners can build. Details of knots, tree inspection for access, safe climbing and tree access methods are contained within the relevant MISs for those work tasks.


Aerial rescue for tree workers 

Planning for aerial rescue 

  • Accident prevention 

  • Preparing for aerial rescue 

  • Rescue-ready climbing techniques

Responding to an aerial emergency 

  • 1: Stop all work 

  • 2: Activate rescue plan 

  • 3: Inspect site and plan for safety 

  • 4: Delegate crew tasks 

  • 5: Access the tree 

  • 6: Install climbing system 

  • 7: Reach and secure the casualty 

  • 8: Lower the casualty to the ground 

  • Lower casualty on their own system 

  • Lower casualty on an additional system 

  • Lower casualty on the rescuer’s climbing system 

  • 9: Transfer casualty to emergency services 

  • Incident documentation 

Specific rescue scenarios and techniques 

  • Ground-based rescue 

  • Pole-top rescue

  • Install new climbing system for the injured climber 

  • Ground-controlled rescue 

  • Top-belayed rescue

  • Complex rescue scenario: poor rope angle 

  • Complex rescue scenario: lifting or moving a casualty 

  • Lifting method 1: pick-off technique 

  • Lifting method 2: mechanical advantage 

  • Achieving lateral movement 

  • Complex rescue scenarios: casualty injuries 

  • Rescuing a climber using an elevated work platform 

Practicing aerial rescue 

Appendix: Types of tree work accidents