Sterling F4 Escape, Auto-Locking Descent Control Device, NFPA-E



Smoother, simpler, safer for getting out fast.

So innovative, so advanced...it's simple. Go as fast as you need to; as fast as you want. But no faster. Sterling Rope's new F4 auto-locking escape device gives firefighters an advanced, yet remarkably simple tool for emergency egress from a rapidly worsening structural fire.

Or it can offer tactical operators, SWAT, or military personnel an option for a quickly improvised escape if a tactical situation suddenly turns bad.
  • Sleek, ultra-smooth low profile design is lightweight yet strong, and very simple to use
  • Smoothly beveled holes make threading fast and easy, and won't abrade the rope as it moves through the device
  • Automatically locks on rope when lever is released
  • Engineered for fast action and maximum safety, even in the most stressful situations
  • Certified to NFPA1983:2012 edition for Escape
  • Choose Red or Black
  • $1 from the sale of each F4 goes to the National Fallen FireFighter Foundation.
Lighter, smoother, less complicated. Sterling's goal was to build a better descent device— one that would deliver maximum advantage from their line of industry-leading escape ropes, such as the FireTech 32™.

The F4 was designed and developed in-house, then tested and refined with assistance from veteran firefighters and instructors in departments all across the country.

The F4's sleek, low-profile body is machined from lightweight, ultra-strong 6061 aircraft grade aluminum with a smooth, hard-anodized finish that allows the rope to pass through easily and without abrasion.

At only 6 oz., it's hardly noticeable in your bailout bag...or your hand. Yet the F4 can stop or control the descent of over 300 lbs. of firefighter and gear.

And with just one moving part (not counting the rope), this patent-pending device combines the simplicity of a figure 8 descender with the added safety and mechanical advantage of much more complicated auto-locking descenders.

Auto-locking descent control for maximum safety. The F4 is engineered for fast action and reactive safety, even in the most stressful situations. Proper training is required, of course— and necessary to build and maintain confidence. But once familiar with this unique escape device, operation is so simple it's virtually instinctive.
  • Single-handed horizontal movement. The F4 is designed to allow easy horizontal movement towards the point of egress. Simply squeezing the lever allows the rope to play through smoothly and quickly, for fast movement from the anchor point to your chosen egress.
  • Hands-free edge transition. The auto-locking feature adds security and confidence for a hands-free bailout. Once at the window or egress point, pulling a few extra feet of rope through the device provides some play. Then simply letting go of the device engages the auto lock, and allowing the escaping firefighter both hands free to climb through the exit point without fear of falling.
  • Hands-on descent. Once safely through the egress, and ready to descend, the operator can grip the F4 in one hand, and the free end of the rope in the other, to begin a, controlled rappel to safety. The fire fighter must use both hands to operate the F4 and rope. The brake hand controls the speed of descent.
  • Hands off to stop. Just release the lever to activate the brake. This is both a safety and a fail-safe. An unconscious or injured firefighter who is unable to maintain pressure on the lever will stop automatically—preventing a dangerous fall and providing time for a rescue.
  • Unique, patent pending design by Sterling has only one moving part for maximum simplicity
  • Weighs just 6 oz.
  • Can stop or control the descent of over 300 lbs. of firefighter and gear.
  • Sleek low-profile shape packs easily in many bag styles
  • Low-profile body machined from lightweight, ultra-strong 6061 aircraft grade aluminum
  • Smoothly beveled holes make threading fast and easy, with no abrasion of the rope as it moves through the device.
  • Squeezing the handle releases the rope to allow easy horizontal movement or descent.
  • Auto-locking system lets firefighter employ a hands-free bailout when at the window or chosen egress
  • Allows multiple anchor options
  • Certified to NFPA 1983:2012 edition for Escape
  • The F4 is certified individually as a Descent Control Device
  • *The F4 is also certified as part of an Escape System with FireTech and SafeTech escape ropes from Sterling.
  • MADE IN U.S.A.
UL Certified to meet NFPA 1983:2012 edition standard on life safety rope and equipment for emergency services.

NOTE: Safe use of the F4 REQUIRES TRAINING AND PRACTICE. Sterling Rope strongly recommends all personnel receive training from a professional instructor.

  • Dimensions: 6" x 2"
  • Weight: 6 oz
  • MBS: 3,035 lbs | 13.5 kN
  • Rope Size: 7.5 mm to 9 mm
  • Material: Hard-Anodized 6061 Grade Aluminum
  • Approved Ropes*:
    • Sterling FireTech 32™
    • Sterling EscapeTech™
    • Sterling SafeTech
    • Sterling 8mm PER
Certifications: NFPA 1983:2012 Edition, Escape

NOTICE: The F4 escape device is only certified with approved Sterling escape ropes. Use of any other rope voids warranty and liability.

Ratings & Reviews

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Awesome Device


Before my Department started issuing the Sterling F4 Descender, I bought my own for ~80 dollars. I love it. It performs its job flawlessly for a price that wont break the bank. All of our guys were issued personal Escape 8s before the F4s. The problem with Escape 8s is that you HAVE to have control of your rope when you go out, unless you prerig a lock, which is a challenge. With the F4, you just hop up to the window and roll out. No need to worry about catching your weight on the rope. Descending is very easy to control with the handle. I only have 1 issue with this descender that i think some of the other more expensive descenders do better. It can be difficult to pay out rope if your anchor point is away from the exit window. This may be solved by using 1 less hole in the descender, which i havent tried. Other than that, great piece of equipment. I recommend it to anybody i talk to.