Captain Brad Warr
Nampa Fire Department
Chief Instructor – Roco Rescue
In August 2020, I was fortunate to attend the 6 Day Small Party Assisted Rescue (SPAR) class in Redmond, OR. As a municipal firefighter who specializes in Urban and Industrial rope and confined space rescue, this SPAR class with a focus on caves was not on my radar until I attended the Level 3 ITRA certification class in 2019. That class was hosted by Eddy Cartaya of Vertically Speaking and after spending the week at his facility and seeing his approach to rescue I knew that this SPAR class was something I wanted to attend.
My expectations were high, and the class far exceeded those expectations. Eddy, Rick Speaect and the rest of the exceptionally talented cadre put on a fantastic class. This class is not for the faint of heart. It is physically and mentally challenging. That said, the instructors put each student in a position to succeed while still requiring that each student perform the skills learned. The hours are long but the class flies by as the cadre seamlessly blends one evolution into the next.
Some of you are wondering why an urban rescuer would even want to attend a small party cave rescue class. I had the same thoughts and yet came away with a box full of new tools that I am already passing along to my department. The cavers have it down when it comes to using their body weight to move people. I came away amazed at how efficiently we performed hauls with small diameter ropes and low manpower. The night drills expose any deficiencies in your equipment setup and the instructors have great insight in how to adjust your set up. The caves are a challenging environment and working in real caves allows the students to prove that their personal equipment set up works.
The water day is spectacular. Using all the skills you have worked on during the week to solve problems while moving through pipes and tubes with water blasting you from every direction was an eye-opening experience.
If you are part of a rescue team that has figured out the huge benefit of having rope access/SPRAT type training, then take the next step and get dirty. If SPRAT is the ballet of rescue, this is the UFC. Down, dirty, efficient and spectacularly satisfying.
Mark Hanna, Principal
Sway Mechanika LLC
Having been on rope in numerous rigging related industries for over 30 years and loving learning all things rope, I signed up for the SPAR course last August. While I’m not a caver, I thought it might be great to see what these folks have developed. After all, they do it in the dark, wet, cold and with spiders! Armed with what I thought was a reasonably comprehensive skill set going in and very recent SPRAT certification, I was “recalibrated” over and over with new tricks, methods, and ways to combine seemingly small amounts of gear into really useful tools.
The coursework and methods taught are easily integrated into all rope activities regardless of discipline. Arborists, structural inspectors, rope access teams, rescue organizations, and entertainment riggers alike will benefit. This information enlightens a wide spectrum of applications.
Eddy, Rick, and each of the instructors worked SO hard to provide an excellent course and venue. It was a great experience, and I’m looking forward to another. Highly recommended for anyone interested in truly understanding the complexities/benefits of small party rescue and the importance of resourcefulness in ALL rope based activities.
Thanks Team Vertically Speaking!!
Logistics Officer/Rifle Team Leader
Western Region Prison Emergency Response Team
NC Department of Public Safety
In July of 2020 I participate in a 3-day Tactical/Rescue ropes course led by Eddy Cartaya in Newland, NC. In contrast with the rescue personnel present, my small group of tactical officers had little to no background in high angle rescue techniques and do not include these skills part of our repertoire. Eddy presented the core concepts for the course in the classroom before quickly getting on rope.
The class had little down time, and hands-on activities were tailored to participants’ needs and skill level. Specific tasks were introduced, then multiple techniques were presented for accomplishing them. Eddy was readily available for questions and feedback throughout the class.
My guys were able to get up to speed on basic concepts quickly, to practice advanced techniques (in rough form), and to consider areas in which rope skills could enhance our tactical capabilities. At the end of the course we had learned useful skills and were eager to pursue them further.
Eddy’s depth of knowledge and range of experience, combined with a low-key instructional style, make him an exceptional instructor. He challenges participants to think through tasks and solve them in multiple ways rather than focus on rote techniques. I look forward to more classes with Eddy when he’s in the East, and I recommend him highly.