How to Tie a Fire-escape Knot

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Introduction: How to Tie a Fire-escape Knot

This knot is used by firemen in case of fires, for example imagine a scene where the ladder on the firetruck messes up, but people need to get down a five story building or more. All they have is a long piece of rope, they can safely get down with a secure knot like the fire-escape knot. So, why not learn it, it's easy to do, and hard to untie if you tie it tightly.

This is from the American Boys Handbook.

Step 1: Get Your Rope

First grab a piece of rope, and bend it like this to make a loop in it. Follow every step to the smallest detail.

Step 2: Twist the Rope

Now make a twist like this, and hold it together.

Step 3: Pull Through the Twist

Pull the loop through the twist you just made, from underneath.

Step 4: Go Over the Split End

Now pull the tail through the loop.

Step 5: Finally

And finally just pull it through as pictured below.

Congratulations you just learned the fire-escape knot.

Step 6: Same Name, Not Knot

This is another knot called the fire-escape knot, this shouldn't be your result.

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30 Comments

Isn't this just a bowline on a bight?

I think that a figure 8 knot is much less hassle to work with in this situation. One can either tie it on a bight and loop it over a post, or if the top of the post is inaccessible (perhaps a full-height vertical beam), one can use a follow through figure 8. Either way, the result is the same.

You now have a rope that is tied off (hopefully to something solid).

I'm a rock climber and from this point I could easily set up a rappel out my window. I would put on my climbing harness, clip the "rope" (I would use at least an 8mm climbing accessory cord) into my ATC-XP belay device, and exit the window holding a strong grip on the brake end of the cord. Extra carabiners would probably be required for friction purposes on the break end.

Disclaimer: As anyone who has read a climbing-related article on the internet will know, the information I have presented is not intended to teach a beginner how to rappel. The methods I have described are not designed to be used in rock climbing or rappelling, but rather as a last resort only. I am not liable for any misuse of this information that may result in injury or even death. Seek instruction from competent persons prior to using any of the techniques mentioned here.


^Isolating oneself from liability is important. But seriously, if you haven't rappelled substantially before, please go talk to someone knowledgeable who can advise you on the best way to do this. Practice setting up the rappel beforehand so that if, god forbid, and actual emergency were to arise, the setup becomes an "autopilot" mode of sorts.

If there's enough demand for it, I might make an instructable with this information. Please ask questions! Climbing/ rappelling is very dangerous and I would rather you ask me a question than end up injured because you didn't.

i totally agree about the figure eight knot part

i bekieve this is also called something like a bowline on a bight

I think a more practical knot is the one that he give as an example at the end. It is a stack of loops that the end of the rope is pulled through. It can be made in seconds as opposed to minutes, uses less rope, and has less complex bights (bends) in the rope making it stronger. While a bowline is very strong, having to run the end through the loop every time would be too tedious. Try trying a "figure of eight on a bight" for increased speed.

a bend and a bight are not the same thing.

good instructable. but i dont see the purpose in this knot. I mean like, how would you use it? is it meant for a longer rope and you tie it around something?

the purpose of this knot is the same as the Double Bowline, but the two are VERY different from each other...the two loops in both types of knots have a use...one loop is what you sit in, and the other loop you pull up to about the middle of your back for support and security...makes it almost imopssible to fall provided your seates correctly...the bowline on a bight is different from the double bowline in the fact that when you tie the BOAB, the loops cannot be adjusted after tying it and when you tie it you will not even come close to the tag ends of the rope...when you tie the DBL bowline, the loops ARE adjustable (so long as you tie it so that you have enough room but not too much) when you finish the knot...so if your a freakishly shaped person who has a butt thats really small, and a torso thats hughe...well, youll be able to fit comfortably...likewise if your butt is huge however your torso is tiny. it also is near impossible to sit crooked in the DBL bowline...it adjusts for that too.

From what I can tell, it's a variation on a bowline (bow-lihn) knot. When doing a bowlin, you hold the loop in front of you, wrap the rope around your middle, or under your arm pits, do the rest of the knot, and you can be lowered to saftey, or lifted out by a helicopter. Very safe knot under constant load. Here, you'd have to do the knot, then step through it, as you can't pass the loop at the end around anything if you're standing in it. I've heard, and used, the rabbit story when teaching the bowline knot to cub scouts. The loop is a hole in the ground. The rope going away from you is a tree. The rope coming up from behind and out the loop is a rabbit. The rabbit comes out of the hole, goes behind the tree, and goes back into the hole. For this knot, instead of going back into the hole, the rope is passed through the loop at the end of the rope somehow. That part wasn't exactly clear to me.