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  1. #1
    kbud
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question Use of come-a-longs

    Anyone use come-a-longs in their departments for stabilizing side resting vehicles? vehicles over the embankment?
    What teaching points would you give for the use of these and have you found any other applications?
    What hardware are you using to attach the cable to the vehicle, ie. chain sling vs. webbing bridle with J-hooks??
    We're putting 2 on our quint and looking for ideas to add to an inservice training program for them....

    Kevin


  2. #2
    Parafiremedic
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Kevin, I have been using come-a-longs for years in Vehicle rescue. We use a big one, that has a cable rated at Ithink around 2000# or more. It works great for pulling steering wheels (non-tilt), moving pedals, etc. I also use a webbing type (ratchet strap) to open doors a little wider, to allow better access while removing a pt. from a vehicle that doesn't need a door popped, but needs a little extra room for personel to handle the backboard in the cramped area (get what I'm saying). As far as using a come-a-long for stabilizing vehicles on their sides, well it comes down to the size/rating of it. Should work fine since most of them are pretty stable once they are on their sides.Just use a J-hook, or standered chain hook. Remember though that the come-a long will be the weak link in the system. I would shy away from using a come-a-long on a vehicle down a cliff, since you will have to take the full wieght of the vehicle. I would perfer to use a winch off a rescue, or a tow truck since most of them are rated at 8,000# and more.

  3. #3
    Engine69
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Originally posted by Parafiremedic:
    to open doors a little wider, to allow better access while removing a pt. from a vehicle that doesn't need a door popped, but needs a little extra room for personel to handle the backboard in the cramped area (get what I'm saying)
    At most extrication classes I have attended recently, the instructors have been preaching door removal. Since you use the come-a-long to give more access to the door opening, I am curious about how long it takes you to rig this up compared to just taking the hinges and removing the entire door? I'm not being critical, just curious. Myself, I prefer not having the door bumping me on the butt when I can do something to prevent that.

    You posted about all the uses I have had for the come-a-long. When you have a solid anchor to use, I like to stabilize a vehicle on its side with a long 4x4 placed on the frame and ground, and then use the come-a-long to put some tension on that 4x4 which stabilizes the vehicle nicely and gives you the entire other side to work on patient removal.


  4. #4
    pwc606
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    I have used the come along to pull the doors down on a suburban that was really wrinkled. It was the only way to get enough room for the medic to get into the vehicle. After he got in we went back to work with the tool and took both the passenger and driver doors off. The problem we faced was that we could not get any leverage to pull the side down at the "B" post due to the damage.
    The other way I have used them is the 4x4 method that Engine 69 was talking about. It gives you a very strong three point stabilization. You must also wedge the other side of the vehicle as well to eliminate any rocking that may occur.
    As for the car over the embankment...I would be more skeptical about using a come along. If the rescue does not have a winch I would call for a wrecker.
    Hope this helps. Stay safe.

  5. #5
    res7cue
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    My dept uses strictly 3 ton chain come-a-alongs, we've been using these types for over 20 years and they just can't be beat! We tested the various wire come-a-longs and were not impressed.

    We also use multiple types of anchoring devices, ie; chains, slings, J-hooks and so on. I reccomend that you use only quality suppliers that rate their equipment, such as towing/ recovery equipment supply co's (don't want to advertise any one copmany)
    and then train and every type of scenario you can even imagine.

    We use the come-a-alongs for stabilization and find them to work great.

    I can remember the days using them for other applications such as door removal, steering column displacment, etc. Found that it was difficult rigging and isn't an efficient operation with the advent of the hydraulic systems.

    We haven't used them in these applications since the late 70's. Takes to long to set up and we have multiple Hurst system components on our heavy rescue. We still train with the come-a-alongs and rigging just in case of a system failure.

    Do you run with a rescue company or is it provided by a mutual aid dept. Check with them to see how you can best serve both depts needs. Experiment with variopus types of equip. Compile your wish list and then buy high quality come-alongs, rigging equip and then train in house and with your rescue companies.

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  6. #6
    Parafiremedic
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Originally posted by Engine69:
    At most extrication classes I have attended recently, the instructors have been preaching door removal. Since you use the come-a-long to give more access to the door opening, I am curious about how long it takes you to rig this up compared to just taking the hinges and removing the entire door? I'm not being critical, just curious. Myself, I prefer not having the door bumping me on the butt when I can do something to prevent that.
    I only use this set-up when the door can be opened as normal. I only use it to pull a door open another couple of feet past it's normal fully opened position to get personell on both sides of a backboard when removing a patient. It takes less than a minute to set-up and use, and since I carry it in a pocket of my rescue jump suit, it's always with me. It's also not a wire come-a-long, but a rachet strap that is used to secure loads. It consist of 1" webbing w/ hooks at each end, and a rachet for applying tension. It does the same thing a firefighter would do when he pushes the door past it's normal open position, but without rocking the car, and it holds it there.



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    All comments are the opinion of the author, and not of any service they are a member of.

  7. #7
    CaptainRescue75
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    I you are looking into the stabilization aspect of a come-along for a vehicle on it's side, you may want to invest in something a little better for that job. Personally, the best thing I have seen for this is the same webbing slings/ratchets that are used on commercial tractor-trailers. They are quite large and have a high weight rating.

    You can attach the hooks to the posts, axles, or anything else you can get ahold of. You then place two 4x4 posts from the underside of the car to the ground. You then drive a picket into the ground at the center of the underside of the car. Wedge the topside of the car. You then drape the ratchet strap on the backside of the picket and tighten it down. As with any tension load on a picket, you must drive one or more additional pickets behind it and attach them together with a webbing sling wound tight with a picket in the middle and driven into the ground.

    Once the tension is pulled on the stap, it drives the car into the ground from the underside and stabilizes the car quite well. This is especially usefull since the topside of the car is completely clear and free for all rescue and extrication operations. It may take a few minutes to set up, but for the advantages it give I feel it is worth it. Just my two cents worth.

    RJM
    Hagerstown, Maryland
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    Now, what was the question again you honor?

  8. #8
    jpchev
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Lightbulb

    come-a-longs are great tools, I just have one suggestion to make. My background is 30 years in fire / rescue and 16 years in the trade of repairing hoists and come-a-longs. For our use in rescue I would use only chain type units. The first problem with wire rope units is wire rope is very fragile, you must constantly watch for kinks, sharp edges etc. which is real hard to do in our world. Wire rope will fail almost without warning. Chain on the other hand is much more tolerable of the abuse we give it, is much easier to inspect for damage and it is impossible to break a good chain with the handle of the tool, you cannot exert enough force to do it. The other problem with wire rope units is they only have max capacity with one layer of wire on the drum (this applies to winches as well), after that you are piling wire which could damage it and reduces capacity. Let's be safe out there!

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