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  The Legal Aspects of Towers!

Things to do BEFORE the tower raising party...or after!

Bob - KB4RGC

So the parts for the new tower arrived, the rotator is tested, the 6 element tribander is assembled and the concrete work is done. Now it is time to ask for volunteers for a tower raising party. Stop right there and think about the legal end of your project. Erecting and climbing towers is dangerous work. Nowadays tower climbing is one of the most dangerous jobs around.

There are no uniform laws dealing with tower work. Depending on where you live there may be State laws or local laws in place. Find out about it.

Even without uniform laws there are some legal principles that will always apply. If something goes wrong someone can get hurt and someone may face an expensive law suit.

Regardless if it is a tower in the back yard or a repeater installation on a commercial tower you need to know about responsibilities. Talk to a lawyer and talk to your insurance company. You may find that a club member is a lawyer that can help without charging an arm or leg or you can check with the ARRL legal referral service.

Spend some time to think about things that can go wrong and what you will do if things go wrong. Some of the items to think about are:

Does your insurance cover all aspects of your project including medical/longterm disability and legal costs.

Are there any local laws requiring a licensed/bonded company to perform the work.

What will you do if someone gets stuck on the tower. Calling 911 is a good starting point but be aware that especially in rural areas not all fire departments are specialized in tower rescue. Find out which ones are and how far away they are.

I am not a lawyer or an expert on the subject. I just want to get you thinking about the "what if's" and get some expert advice before doing any tower work.

Bob - KB4RGC

Lowering a tower with a TH6DXX on top. Everything went smoothly until........
Don't let this happen to you...they were very very lucky!
 This accident certainly was not planned and this is why they call it an "accident".
This is NOT a staged video. It actually happened!
Watch closely at the point where the crane is attached to the tower
 just after 3 minutes into the video. Video length about 5 minutes~~~~


Hi-Angle Tower "Mock" Rescue Video Tutorial showing the
"System 99 Method" Narrated.
About 9 1/2 minutes long.


A Typical Fire Department "high angle mock rescue" practice session courtesy of the Town of Clayton, NC Fire Department shown below.

The Clayton Fire Department in Clayton, NC is a certified Heavy Rescue Provider and also holds provider certifications for Confined Space Rescue, Trench Rescue, and High Angle/Rope Rescue through the NC Association of Rescue and Emergency Medical Services, Inc.These provider certifications are awarded following an inspection of specific equipment required and by having a specific number of personnel certified as Technicians in the various specialty topics.

This section of this article shows photos of a fire department training exercise on tower rescue or as they call it "high angle rescue". It shows how much work it takes to get someone off a tower. It also takes about 2 hours after the FD arrives so if you are up there and can't get down by yourself you are in for a long wait.

CERT, (Community Emergency Response Teams) which I am member of, is always invited to their exercises.  The tower in the photos below is behind Station 2 and besides the commercial stuff, also has 2 ham repeaters.

The following photos show preparation during training, actual retrieval of a "mock victim" and getting him down safely. 





The "victim" in the photo above was rescued and "lived" for another training excersise.