Hi Lift Jacks are a tremendous tool in our rescue “tool box”, they have a great lift capacity and they have a tremendous amount of lifting/spreading/pulling distance that they can travel. I think that this tool has gotten a bit of a bad rap over the years and I think that allot of it has to do with our over reliance on Air Bags as our primary lifting tool. For me though I feel that the Hi Lift Jack gives much more versatility than allot of people know about and they have tons of applications on the rescue ground.
The Hi lift jack can make a great pulling tool as well as a lifting tool; using some chain and shackles it can become extremely useful at pulling or lifting heavy loads also. Several different attachments can be bought to allow you to attach chain to with ease.
Lowering the Center of Gravity and Extending the Reach
One of the biggest complaints about the jacks is that they can become unstable at height because of the center of gravity rising. One awesome attachment that I have seen is the OJ Sleeve. The OJ Sleeve got its roots from Retired Battalion Chief Ron Zawlocki of the Pontiac, Michigan Fire Department. I first saw it at a Machinery Rescue Class in Howell, Michigan. The design came out of necessity, when you think about it we have a bunch of great options for lifting things that are relatively close to the ground. We have air bags, bottle jacks, hydraulic spreaders, etc…. all these tools are great and provide a tremendous amount of lifting power, but they all have very minimal spreading distance and they can only lift very minimally off the ground with out cribbing. The OJ Sleeve solves the problem of lifting and spreading loads that are beyond 4 ft off the ground… extremely fast!
The sleeve is a homemade sleeve and it is made to hold a 4×4 of any length vertically, this makes an awesome lifting post and it keeps the center of gravity in the lifting carriage extremely low to the ground increasing its stability.
The OJ Sleeve has a ton of uses such as:
• Closing the gap without using tons of cribbing
• Lifting things at height
The other great thing about Hi Lift Jacks is that they require no exterior power source other than muscle power. They do not require set up… they are simple and are always ready to work. I also love the fact that they will work in any condition, smoky conditions for RIT, under and around water, etc.
The Hi Lift Jack is a fantastic tool and has tons of uses, so dust them off and get them out of the compartment where they have been for years and train on them…. Use them to