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GME Blog

Climb Higher - A blog about Tower Climbing Safety Gear

  • Choosing the Right Rescue Bag

    Using a three bag system for your gear organization provides an easy way to quickly identify a bag’s contents. This can be especially useful in a stressful emergency situation like a fallen worker. Being able to find your rescue kit in moments is critical.

    We recommend using our GME Supply Rescue Rope Bags as part of your color-coded bag solution.

    Your black bag can be your backup lifeline kit. This holds your backup lifeline which is generally a 3-Strand or kernmantle. Along with your rope grab like the ASAP from Petzl, and some anchorage. You may even need a termination plate depending on whether your rope has a factory eye.

    The Yellow bag can hold your controlled descent kit. This kit is made up of a kernmantle rope, generally a 7/16th inch diameter, and a descent device. We recommend the WestFall Pro D4 or the Petzl I’D. Again, you’ll probably need some anchorage straps, hardware, and other rope accessories.

    Finally, your rescue kit in the orange bag. This should come out of the truck first when you arrive on a job site. It lives at the base of the tower while you’re working. While you can piece together your rescue kit, we have premade kits built with everything you need to successfully perform a rescue.

    Speaking of rescue, competent rescuer certification must be renewed every year. Click here to make sure you’re taking the best courses available.

  • Digital vs Analog Two-Way Radios

    The first difference you'll notice between digital and analog two-way radios is the clarity. Digital walkie-talkies are much clearer than analog radios. Kenwood Digital Radios have built-in error correction which eliminates random chatter, static interference, background noise, and distorted voices.

    Analog vs Digital Two-Way Radios

    Digital radios also give you about a 20% increase in coverage. The stronger digital signal does well pushing through walls and concrete, making them great for indoor, industrial use.

    As far as privacy goes, digital radios have increased performance due to the methods of transmittance. While analog radios have significant privacy methods in place, digital has the edge here.

    If you already have a fleet of analog radios, there's no reason to replace them. Most digital radios, like these from Kenwood, have two bands. While you're still using the analog radios, you can set a band on the digital set to communicate to both. Once the analog radios are phased out, swap over to the digital band.

    On the warranty front, Kenwood's digital radio warranty is 3 years. Longer than the standard radio warranty across the board.

  • Capital Safety/DBI Sala Lad-Saf Recall

    Capital Safety/3M, makers of the DBI Sala line of fall protection, has announced a mandatory safety recall for all Lad-Saf Cable Grabs which predate the X2 model. Additional details, along with alternative products and recall instructions are below. Click here for the PDF.

    DBI Sala Lad-Saf Recall


    Dear 3M Customer: After more than 30 years of use in the fall protection industry, the original Lad-Saf™ sleeve has been replaced by a completely redesigned next generation Lad-Saf sleeve.
    Capital Safety/3M recently reviewed the performance of the original Lad-Saf sleeve in the field, including a limited number of incidents involving a serious injury or death in the United States while using the sleeve. Although our review did not reveal product hazard or risk scenarios that would arise in the ordinary and proper use of the product, it did reveal potential misuse scenarios that could result in serious injury or death. The potential misuse scenarios include interference with the braking mechanism (such as entanglement with cords, lanyards, clothing or other materials, or grasping the sleeve prior to or during a fall), or result from the user attaching the sleeve upside down (user inversion). No safety regulator has made a finding that the design of the original Lad-Saf sleeve is defective.
    At 3M, customer safety and confidence are high priorities. In light of the reported incidents and potential misuse scenarios, we have discontinued sale of the original Lad-Saf sleeve, and are voluntarily initiating a full recall of all original Lad-Saf sleeves. Owners / Users of original Lad-Saf sleeves must:
    1. Immediately stop using and quarantine all original Lad-Saf sleeves. Affected part numbers are: 6100016, 6116500, 6116501, 6116502, 6116503, 6116504, 6116505, 6116506, 6116507, 6116509, 6116512, 6116535, 6116540, 6116541, 6116542, 6116500C, 6116500SM, 6116507/A, 6116540b
    2. Contact 3M Customer Services at 1-800-328-6146 (ext. 2012), or email us at LADSAFNA@mmm.com to discuss the replacement of your returned units with an X2 or X3 sleeve, depending on your needs, at no cost to you.
    3M remains committed to providing quality products and services to our customers. We apologize for any inconvenience that this situation may cause you, but we are confident that you will be very pleased with the latest generation X2 and X3 Lad-Saf sleeves to keep your workers safe at height. We appreciate your continued support of 3M Fall Protection products and services.
    3M Fall Protection - August 30, 2016

    Potential Alternative Cable Grab Devices:
    GME Supply RG-5000 Wire Rope Grab with Carabiner IN STOCK
    DBI Sala Lad-Saf X3 Detachable Cable Sleeve
    DBI Sala Lad-Saf X2 Detachable Cable Sleeve
    Miller VGCS Vi-Go Automatic Pass-Through Cable Guide
    FallTech 7609 Hinged Self-Tracking Cable Grab

    Additional alternatives are as follows:

    1. The use of a double/twin leg lanyard
    2. The use of a Vertical Lifeline Rope and Rope Grab
    3. Step Peg Anchor Brackets

  • Hougen Annular Cutter Geometry


    Most cutters come with standard geometry, designed to cut through a single piece of steel.

    They cut quickly, and produce a clean hole. The slug that’s ejected looks similar to a top hat, with a small lip on the bottom edge. But, if you’re cutting through multiple pieces of steel, standard geometry isn’t for you. You’re looking for Stack-Cut geometry.


    Let’s look at the differences. Standard geometry cuts from the outside to inside. You can see how the teeth of this cutter slope inward. On stack-cut geometry, the teeth cut inside out. This produces a perfectly round cylinder without that lip.


    If you used a standard cutter on multiple pieces, you’d have to stop between pieces of metal and try to fish out that slug before continuing. Or risk breaking your tool. Hougen has a complete series of both basic standard geometry bits, as well as stack-cut versions. Now you know the difference and can choose what’s right for your job.


    We have a great demo of the Hougen 904 MagDrill, done by Jim Kaiser of Hougen Manufacturing. Click right there to see the drill in action. Then head over to GME supply, where we have a full selection of Mag Drills, cutters, and accessories.

  • GME Supply 2015 - By The Numbers

    0.2 – Miles to the new Vietnamese Take Out restaurant in Columbia.

    Our staff may be single handedly keeping this place open.


    1 – GME Supply Staff Soccer Team regular season championship

    Let’s not talk about the playoffs, though…


    2 - Number of Times Kevin has driven from Columbia to our new location in Atlanta

    As the first transplant employee from our Headquarters in Columbia, he’s familiar with I-24 through Kentucky and Tennessee.

    3 – Additional vehicles added to the company fleet

    We’re still working on the plane.


    4 – Personal Trainers on staff

    Our team has gotten 33% more swole.


    6 - GBs of data streamed during NATE on our ClimbHigher cam

    You could watch our $20,000 giveaway in real time, straight from sunny Orlando, FL. See the timelapse of the entire show here.


    7.5 - Hours it took Andrea to finally eat the peanut m&m’s that were replaced with peanut butter m&m’s without her knowledge

    Dan swapped them out first thing in the morning, and then waited for her to take the first bite. She was quite confused.


    14 - Consecutive Sun Glasses emojis sent to Josh, without reply 

    The first new-hire at our Atlanta location. These were sent over multiple days.


    15 - Minutes of drone flight before crashing it into a flagpole

    They recommend you fly 10 hours in an open area before getting close to anything. We read the instructions after the crash. We’re better at it now. See some footage over on Instagram.


    44 - number of cars worth of CO2 our Net Zero energy building saves every year. That’s 212 metric tons if you’re keeping track at home.

    A roof of solar panels, sun tracking skylights, and an ultra-efficient structure. We actually produce more energy than we use. You’re welcome Earth.


    49 - States that we are a 1,2,3 day standard ground shipping point to

    No matter where you are in the US, our gear is literally a day or two away with shipping that won’t break the bank.


    67% - Increase in sales staff

    New locations require extra staff, but we also broke out our regional staff to better serve you!


    87- Years of misery put to bed with the Royals World Series win (yes- one of the fans wasn’t alive in ‘85)

    The majority of the baseball fans root for the Cardinals, so the small KC contingent was especially happy that Royals got it done. #1738 


    125% - Increase in warehouse space

    We have all our gear, ready to ship in our expansive Atlanta warehouse. More gear in more places means it’s even more convenient and cheaper for you!

    500 - Free lunches provided during our “Lunch and Learn” trainings

    We invite everyone in the area to stop by for a quick 1-hour training, and free lunch. We’ve covered traffic safety, confined space, hi-visibility, and more!


    675 - Miles between our Columbia and Atlanta Locations

    Thanks to our new high-tech Google Hangout enabled conference rooms, we’re able to work like the two buildings are next door to each other.


    1532 - Number of live chats completed

    Can’t chat on the phone? Do it with your fingers.


    2500 - Energy Drinks stocked in the health fridge

    If we’re talking faster on the phones, you know why. Caffeine's healthy... right?


    9511 - Likes on instagram photos

    From shots of towers, training, or random nonsense around our office. We’re posting it all. Use #ClimbHigher on your photos and we’ll share ‘em!


    20,000 - Dollars of prizes given away at NATE in Orlando

    And we’re going bigger in 2016! Swing by our booth in New Orleans to get in on the winning.


    42,819 - Facebook Likes

    Mash the like button with 42k of your closest #RealTowerClimbers to keep up with our updates, news, contests, and more!


    120,000 – Catalogs Distributed

    Every order gets one. We send them out for free to everybody that requests one. We pass ‘em out at tradeshows. Get yours here.


    325,000 - Minutes watched on our YouTube channel

    We haven’t quite caught up with PSY, but our educational, informative, and entertaining videos help you choose the right gear to work safely.
    975,000 - Pounds Shipped

    We sent it by land, air, and sea. Our gear arrives where you need it, when you need it.


    2,250,000 - Page Views

    We crushed our goal that we set in last year’s numerical review. You may notice us doing the same in 2016!

  • Professional Level Gear from WestFall Pro

    No frills… just professional gear.

    WestFall Pro builds its products to meet and exceed the most stringent of industry standards. And the gear is designed by the people that use it, so it’s not over engineered or needlessly complicated.

    Take the Ascend Tower Harness for instance. You can get it in either Steel or Aluminum hardware, both are great. Obviously the aluminum will save some weight with the lighter hardware. The harness is basically designed around the seat. They use a wide, comfortable aluminum seat with plenty of padding for working all day in suspension. Plus, they threw on extra utility attachment loops on the seat, and around the belt to hold your tools while you’re not using them.

    Next, the Weld-Lok reinforced capstan hoist truck mount. It’s designed to be used with the 1,000 pound capstan hoist. Unlike others on the market, it uses Weld-Lok technology to make it extra sturdy. The individual pieces actually are interlocked to keep things strong. Plus, it’s engineered and manufactured in the U.S. Can you say quality?

    New from WestFall Pro is their Load Rated carabiner. This thing is one of the strongest on the market. It’s rated to 2000 pounds for lifting and rigging. The WLL is stamped right on the carabiner. Plus, you can easily differentiate it from your fall protection hardware because the gate is painted bright yellow.

    Finally, their load rope. This pairs great with the load rated carabiner. The WestFall double braid load rope has a tighter braid than others on the market. This provides better abrasion resistance and prevents snags when running through blocks, on the capstan, or against a tower. There’s also a high contrast tracer throughout the rope, which helps show how fast, and in what direction your rope is moving.

    Checkout the playlist featuring many of the WestFall Pro products above. Head over to the manufacturer page to see them all.

  • Extended Free Fall Safety

    Foot level tie-off

    Most often in the tower industry, there are anchorage points in convenient places. When you’re on a tower, you have steel surrounding you that your rebar hooks easily attach to. But occasionally you might find yourself with no overhead anchorage available. When this happens, you’ll need specially designed equipment for foot level tie-off. This is also known as 12 foot free fall or extended free fall.

    Normally in a personal fall arrest setup, the anchorage is above you. The maximum distance that you can legally travel before your lanyard arrests your fall is 6 feet. Because of this short distance the lanyard doesn’t have a hard time reducing the arresting forces to an acceptable level. It still won’t be comfortable; you’re going to experience upwards of 800-900 pounds of force on your body. But that’s much better than the potentially fatal force that you would feel without a shock absorbing lanyard.


    During a foot level tie-off scenario, your anchorage is, obviously, below your dorsal D-ring. This means that if you fall you’re going to travel up to 12 feet before the lanyard even begins to stop you. In terms of speed, you’ll fall 6 feet in 0.61 seconds. And a 12 foot fall only takes 0.25 seconds longer, so you’re obviously travelling much faster.


    A standard shock absorbing lanyard is not designed to safely stop you while travelling at that rate. If and it’s a big IF, it even stops you at all, you’ll be subjected to more force that is legally allowed. Luckily, fall protection companies like DBI Sala, FallTech, Skylotec, and WestFall Pro have specially designed equipment to make sure you’re safe in foot lev el tie-off situations.


    An important thing to keep in mind when tying off at foot level is fall clearance. Fall clearance is the distance below your anchorage that you’ll be able to safely fall without hitting the surface or structure below you. What good is fall protection if you’re going to splat into the floor or an I-beam before your gear can stop you? In 12 foot free fall, you’ll fall 6 feet before your lanyard starts to catch you. Add the length of the lanyard, which is 6 feet. Then allow 60 inches, or 5 feet for your lanyard to expand, also known as arresting distance. Also, your overall height, let’s say another 6 feet. So far we’re at 23 feet of fall clearance. Finally you always need a safety factor; we’ll call it 1.5 feet. So for this scenario, you would need almost 25 feet before the nearest obstruction to safely work.


    Have some extended free fall work in your future? Click here to see all of our 12 foot free fall rated lanyards. Some are designed only for this type of application, others, like the BlackMax from WestFall Pro, can be used in either standard fall arrest or extended free fall situations.

  • End of Year Kenwood Rebates

    What a way to end the year. Kenwood has announced new rebates on nearly ALL of their ProTalk Radios. With the purchase of 6 radios, you can get $20-$35 back per radio. Plus, they’re throwing in a multi-charger.

    We’ve gone over their great features, durability, and versatility before. And below we go over how to disable a feature that might be a bit pesky depending on your situation. But for now, let’s look at the rebates. You can also click here to see the form and the instructions on how to claim your cash.


    The three most popular radios, the TK-3400U4P, the TK-3230, and the PKT-23 are all on the list. Get $25 back on the 3400U4P. Choose either the 4 channel or 16 channel model. Also, both the PKT-23 and the TK-3230 have $20 rebates. This is essentially like getting 1 radio for free! Can’t beat that. Oh, and don’t forget about the FREE six unit charger… The rebates are live now, and run through December 31st. Don’t miss out on these deals!


    Now about those features. In the video below, we go over how to disable the Superlock setting Kenwood's TK Series of two-way radios. Watch the video to see this feature.

    Now, these radios are some of the most popular, and we know our customers rely on them everyday. We carry enough to outfit your entire crew, and can get them to you in a jiffy.

  • Sterling Rope 12mm Dyneema Slings

    Traditional nylon slings are strong, sure. By Dyneema is stronger. Sterling Rope uses this tough, cut resistant material to make their 12mm slings lightweight, and very durable.

    Sterling Dyneema Slings

    These slings come in a variety of lengths, and can be used like traditional runners. We find that every crew likes to have a good selection in their work truck, because of their versatility. The different colors help to differentiate different sizes.


    Sterling uses a special stitching design to sew the ends, which provides a very high MBS. In a straight pull, these suckers are rated to 23 kN. In a basket, they’re even stronger. Sterling also has 10 mm slings that are just as strong.


    We’ve also covered other great gear from Sterling Rope, like their pocket hauler, HTP Static, and the versatile Aztek Elite kit. Head over to the Sterling Rope section to see it all.

  • The All New P55 Omni-Block

    It’s finally here. The Rock Exotica P55 Omni-Block. This thing is a beast.

    P55 Rock Exotica Omni-Block

    With a monstrous 80 kN MBS, this thing is a must for lifting and rigging. It combines all the things that people love about the Omni-Block family – machined aluminum construction, efficient ball-bearing sheave, and super-smooth swivel – with enough strength to handle what a capstan can throw at it. Learn more about it in our latest video:

    Get it into your lifting and rigging arsenal, and make work easier. Consider swapping it out for your standard hand line block in capstan kits. Put it in your rescue kits for a versatile, super-efficient solution.

    There are of course an entire line of Omni-Blocks. We’ve covered them before in other blog posts. They range in size from 1.1” all the way up to the 2.6” sheave of the P55. They can also be had in single or double sheave designs. Some even have a becket at the bottom to be incorporated into haul systems. Others come in a blackout design, which is useful for stage rigging or tv and movie production.

    They all have super-efficient ball-bearing designs, and look as great as they function. See all the other Omni-Blocks, as well as everything else from Rock Exotica here.

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