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Avoiding suspension trauma

Hanging motionless and suspended in your FAS after a fall can cause the leg straps to constrict blood flow. This pressure can make blood pool in the legs, limiting circulation and depriving the brain and other organs of blood and oxygen. This is called suspension trauma and can lead quickly to unconsciousness followed by death.

To avoid suspension trauma while you wait to be rescued, use the FAS suspension relief strap. Step into the loop and stand up to relieve the pressure caused by the leg straps.

  • If a suspension relief strap is not included with your FAS, attach a strap or rope to the hips of your full-body harness to form a loop that hangs between your knees and ankles.
  • If you do not have a suspension relief strap, use another method to try to keep your blood flowing until help arrives. Move your legs continuously by pushing off from the tree, or raise your knees and pump your legs frequently.