I have used a couple of different brands the RIT brand with the knots and rings. I felt was a good concept, but we had trouble with tangles, etc. I found the best search rope was 9mm kevlar blend that we found. We ended up using it with our RIT Bags. We connected it to the RIT bag with captive-eye carabiners so if we had to extend it for whatever reason, or leave it because of shortage we could. We had 200' in our RIT bag. It is lightweight so it didn't add any drag. Tim Sendelbach has a couple of good programs that deals with search lines, so I am uploading them for you.
I like the kevlar for search ropes dues to the high heat and abrasion resistence. I hate the price. I got rope for my department called Glo-flex by Sterling. It is a regular kernamantle rope with a reflective tracer. At least you have a chance of locating it if you lose it in the dark. If we trash it, we will replace it.
We only have one station that has rope as they deal with high angle rescue. Each truck carries water rescue rope, but have really never looked into search rope. We have always set it up that you go in with a hose line and don't leave the hose. This might be something to look into, as well we train on how to figure out the direction of the hose line by the markings felt on the hose connections. Even search and rescue always goes in with a charged hose.
At my Dept. we each have 100' of rope and a carabiner hooked to our pants and put in our right side pocket we hook to the porch and go in only 1oo' it has worked twice in finding a lost ff, it also is a way to find your way back out.
My engine is the only one of the 4 that I know of that carries rope. We have 2 bags with 100' of non-life safety rope with a carribener in the end. We generally do not go anywhere without a hose, but if we do this is what we would use. I personally carry 50' of 10mm PMI with a NFPA G rated carribener on the end so this fat kid and his crew can get the heck out of dodge when it hits the fan.
Here in Kansas City MO we lost a good friend and Battalion Chief John Tvedten on Dec. 18th of 99. We weren't prepared for that type of fire and it took one of ours. After the memorial service a few of us got together and over the course of the next 10 years, ( we still improve on it as we teach it), have simmered it down to a fairly simple and effective large area search we use exclusively for RIT. This is it in a nut shell. Team consists of four members. Two pairs. First pair make up the A-team and is the company officer , "lead-in" , as he will have the thermal imaging camera and will have to make decisions ,like is this a viable search. Next is the " mule" he gets this name because he hauls the rope bag ( 300" of 9mm kernmantle) and a rescue scba bottle with an imbilicle hose to quick fill a down firefighters bottle. These two enter the structure tethered together and the mule is attached to the rope. they are requested to acknowledge a status update every 3 min. If at 12 minutes no victim is found then the team is recalled and another team with fresh air take over ( At this point only two people are in the hazardous area doing the search) When a victim is found the A team sizes up what they might need and the B team can bring it in with them. The B team are attached to the rope seperately and follow the rope to the a teams location to help extricate the victim.
This works really well but I don't to give too much info because it can be dangerous. The past four years we've been going around the state of Missouri teaching this technique to departments from St. Louis to Rolla, Springfield,. For more info shoot a memo back.
We use 200' 9mm kermantle with reflective tracers tied hard to a solid immovable object outside. Two go in, one leading sounding and one moving the bag with the extra bottle with buddy hose. When we get to a doorway, say to an office, the lead clips onto a 50' rope in the bag while the bag tender stays at the doorway. We only feed enough rope to the searcher based on his visibility or reach of feel and he sweeps the room.