Jack Team Work With New Sleeves

After seeing a couple variations of sleeves for high-lift jacks we made a few.  Brother Firefighter Stout helped with fabricating them and tracking down some steel.  You can read more about the “OJ Sleeves” from the brother’s in Michigan or view some pictures from Andrew Brassard’s variation here.

We had the opportunity to break the new sleeves in by lifting and moving some 3,500 pound concrete blocks.  This will be the first of a couple posts showing their use and challenges.  We are planning to do a little more jack team work later in the week on a school bus.


One of the big concerns with using jacks is the instability as the height increases.  By using the sleeves, you are essentially adding a cheater bar so cribbing and watching for a shifting load is especially important.  The controlled risk seems valuable in some situations and we will be trying to simulate some of those possibilities in coming trainings.  For this one, we will hit on simple lifting and moving a horizontal load.

Horizontal Load

The sleeves fit perfectly as our goal was to separate the two concrete blocks past the reach of the high-lift jack alone.  You have the flexibility to cut the 4×4 as seen in the picture to whatever length you need to fit in the space, but also gain greater reach.  In the video below the jacks are fairly close together and could be spread apart further to prevent the load from twisting.  It is also important to have both jacks spreading simultaneously, if not, the jack will drop unless tied off.

Vertical Lift

One of the scenarios that was mentioned during this training was a firefighter trapped under a collapse.  This is similar to the challenges the Brothers in Michigan faced.  See the post linked above.  Sometimes we need the extra reach and lifting capacity quick.

We lifted the end of a block with a single jack, sleeve, and 4×4 at two different heights easily.  It was a quick set-up.  The jack sleeve in the pictures seems a bit bound up, but the lift was still successful without shifting the jack.    I think it was how we loaded the jack and not to tight of a sleeve design.  Further testing in the field will tell us more and if adjustments are needed to the design.  Also notice the handle we added to the sleeve.  It helps with set-up, but limited the in-and-out positioning of the jack.  We will probably cut the handles off of two sleeves and leave them on two for further testing.

If anyone is interested in trying the jack sleeves message me on facebook.

New FDT Bumper Stickers

Will have some at the Ohio Fire & EMS Expo, September 20 & 21

Pass it on!