Rescue: operation of the victim’s ZIGZAG by the rescuer - Petzl USA

Rescue: operation of the victim’s ZIGZAG by the rescuer

In case of an accident where the worker loses consciousness or is incapacitated, inert suspension in the harness is a life-threatening emergency requiring immediate action. The arborist must be capable of quickly evacuating an injured team-mate, without assistance. The goal of this document is not to cover rescue techniques that must be practiced at a training center. Only several precautions specific to the ZIGZAG are presented here.


  • Carefully read the Instructions for Use used in this technical advice before consulting the advice itself. You must have already read and understood the information in the Instructions for Use to be able to understand this supplementary information.
  • Mastering these techniques requires specific training. Work with a professional to confirm your ability to perform these techniques safely and independently before attempting them unsupervised.
  • We provide examples of techniques related to your activity. There may be others that we do not describe here.

Note: in this document the name ZIGZAG means either the ZIGZAG or ZIGZAG PLUS models.

Many evacuation techniques involve operating the victim's device, to lower him down the work rope.

If the victim is hanging from a friction hitch, the hitch is normally managed with the help of a pulley.

Warning: using a pulley is dangerous with the ZIGZAG: risk of jamming the release lever and causing the victim to fall. Control with a simple knot in a rope is recommended.

ZIGZAG, example of accompanied descent, 1/2
ZIGZAG, example of accompanied descent, 2/2

Example of accompanied descent

The rescuer is connected "short" to the victim. The victim is held upright with the help of a lanyard. The rescuer controls his own ZIGZAG, on a different rope that is in good condition. The victim's ZIGZAG is controlled by a simple knot made with the rescuer's lanyard. Warning: this technique requires that the condition and length of the victim's rope has been verified as sufficient for the descent.