NFPA Standards


The National Fire Protection Association ( is an international non-profit organisation, headquartered in the USA, devoted to eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards. The NFPA develops (generally) non-binding standards across all areas of fire protection including rope rescue equipment & training.

In 1983 the first NFPA rope rescue guidelines were released in the USA as part of a response to a number of fire-fighter fatalities in rope rescue incidents. NFPA guidelines cover equipment and systems certification and for many emergency services and statutory bodies in the US they are in fact mandatory. Some equipment manufacturers & distributors, like Rock Exotica and CMC, produce both NFPA and non-NFPA certified versions of the same items.

The most commonly referenced NFPA rope rescue standard, NFPA 1983 Standard on Fire Service Life Safety Rope and System Components, is a manufacturer’s testing and labelling standard & the one you will typically see on equipment, such as the Harken LokHead Winch Kit. Sub definitions within NFPA 1983 are Technical Use or ‘T’ which equates to a 300lb (~ 150kg) load and a 4500lb (or roughly 22kN) MBS and General Use or ‘G’ which equates to a 600lb (~ 300kg) load and a 9000lb (or 45kN) MBS.

NFPA standards like 1983 are not binding in Australia but can be used as valuable reference points for rope access & rescue professionals.


23 March 2020


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