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Making the rescue harness a universal fit for your team without any cuts.

Many water rescue teams do not have the funding to purchase personal PFD's for every member so they purchase universal fit PFD's.  The PFD may be universal fit but, the belt on the rescue harness may be too long which, can possibly create an entrapment hazard.  If you have taken a swiftwater class, hopefully, you have been made aware of this potential issue - as a belt slides through the tri-glide and cam buckle it can potential get pinched not allowing the rescuer to get away.  I have personally seen this happen a number of times. 

To solve the problem of a long belt, without cutting it and still taking up the extra tail; our friends from Fairfax County Fire Dept. came up with an ingenious idea.  See below - 

1. First you will need to purchase some 2" or 1.5" cam buckles depending on the width of the belt.  The you will need to slide the cam buckle on the belt all the way to the other side where the belt does not release which, is usually on the left side.  The cam buckle will face into the PFD to prevent snagging or opening on its own.    

2. Place all your gear on and then your PFD.  Estimate how much of the belt you will need to take up.  You will still want to keep 2" to 3" of tail coming out of the cam buckle when fully threaded properly.

3. Take a bite of the excess belt webbing from the free end (where the belt would release) Pictures below -

4. Feed the bite of webbing back through the buckle towards the left side of the PFD, near the front. 

5. Pull the bite of webbing through

6. Now close the cam buckle with will pinch the excess webbing and rotate the buckle back in to face the PFD. 

 I hope this tip will be helpful for your team.



Aaron Peeler

H2O Rescue


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