ISA offers a variety of educational materials and products to help arborists expand their professional knowledge and experience. Every month we will feature a product or group of products. This month ISA is featuring the new Gear Check video and the ITCC Rule Book.
A complimentary resource, the Gear Check Video covers how to properly conduct a gear check for a Tree Climbing Competition (TCC). Presented by Husqvarna, the new version features ISA Board Certified Master Arborist® Alex Julius and ISA Certified Arborist® Warren Williams who discuss topics relating to proper equipment, maintenance and safety. Both Warren and Julius also hold the ISA Certified Tree Worker Specialist® credential. An accompanying quiz worth 1 CEU (A, T, Bp, L) is now available.
“Often people get started in the industry without a mentor to teach them the importance of gear inspection,” Julius said. “This video will help guide people in the direction of reading user manuals and inspecting their gear regularly.”
According to Williams, the video is a high level look at personal equipment, ropes and textiles, connecting links, climbing harnesses and some common climbing and work positioning systems used by arborist. The focus, however, is on how to select, inspect, maintain and when to retire equipment.
Williams went on to say that although the video is similar to the first in content, the new gear Check Video is presented in a “slightly different perspective, so it would be more relevant to the non-competition climber.”
“The video will be particularly valuable for crews as they work through their routine inspections,” Julius said. “I’d highly recommend that crews perform their own gear inspections while watching the video, pause after each section, and immediately put into practice what they just learned. This will help reinforce the learning.”
Williams said the biggest thing he and Julius wanted people to come away with was a greater understanding of the equipment.
“Also we ‘pushed’ the fact that everyone should read the manufactures recommendations so that they know how the equipment was designed to be used NOT how it could be used,” Williams said. “Many times consumers/arborists use equipment in situations in which it was not designed for and this has resulted in personal injury and/or property damage.”
Furthermore, the Gear Check Video can serve as a guide for how individual tree climbers and crews can structure their own gear checks.
“There is not a right or wrong way to structure your gear inspection, but without a systematic process, defects can easily be missed,” Julius said. “A viewer should be able to walk through their own gear inspection and determine how they will perform the inspection every time moving forward. Much like when we do our pre-climb inspection, there is not a correct answer on how to do it, but as a climber, I should walk through my personal method the same way every time, whether that’s working from the roots up to the canopy, or the reverse.”
In addition to the new Gear Check Video, the Rules Committee created a new ITCC Rule Book that will go into effect at the 2022 ITCC. In the process of rewriting the ITCC rulebook, the rules committee streamlined the rulebook so that it is more easily understood and improved the ability to reference information. During this process the committee took into account the ongoing evolution of professional tree climbing, as well as the feedback received from the competitors and volunteers.
The new rulebook includes notable changes to the following events: Throwline, Ascent Event, Belayed Speed Climb, Aerial rescue, and the Masters’ Challenge. Please consult the rulebook for more details on the changes. Copies of printed rule books are available for purchase via the ISA online store, and the digital version of the Rule Book can be viewed on the ITCC website.