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[TowerTalk] Come-Alongs

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Subject: [TowerTalk] Come-Alongs
From: (Rob Hummel)
Date: Thu, 11 Dec 1997 09:51:59 -0500 (EST)
After reading Ed's story about his injury and other's comments, I want to
offer this unsolicited advice.

I'm a firefighter/emt, and professional rescue in dangerous situations is
part of my everyday life. (After contesting, of course.) Recently, I was
specifying some new equipment for our rescue squad that might help we tower

If a car is hanging over a river bank or other precipice, it is SOP to
stabilize the car before sending in EMTs to take care of injured passengers.
I usually do this with a come-along. We chain one end to the car and the
other to a guard rail, tree, or fire truck and take up the slack to keep the
car from slipping further.

We don't use those $9.99 cable pullers you get at Ace hardware.

Pawl-type cable pullers are NOT meant for any type of lifting. They are for
pulling only. Pawl-type cable pullers should never be used in a situation
where their failure will cause a life or safety hazard. Just as we use
proper gin poles and proper bolts and proper guy wire for our towers, we
should use proper pullers. Here are some suggestions.

Best: Choose a chain puller/hoist. They are similar to come-alongs in size
and appearence. Instead of winding a cable on a reel, they feed a chain
through a liftwheel with a positive mechanical brake. Freewheeling allows
rapid take-up of extra chain. Because the chain feeds in one side and out
the other, the lift is limited only by the length of the chain. The handle
can ratchet or turn a full 360-degrees, making for rapid take-up or let-down.

Weight for 3/4 ton: 16 #
Pull for full lift: 58 #
Cost: about $220

Don't confuse this with a chain-fall hoist. This puller can be used in any

Better: Cable pullers with a cast frame instead of malleable stamped steel.
Cable lengths up to 40' are typical. Cast or milled palls and gears with
positive brakes and lock-downs.

Frankly, I still wouldn't go into a car secured only by these cable-pullers
that require you to manually flip a pawl to pay-out the load.

Rob Hummel (WS1A)

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