The Jigger… What is it? – A Rope Rescue Technician’s Best Friend

Written By: Lance Piatt

A jigger system is a mechanical advantage system that uses pulleys to increase the force applied to an object. It is typically used in rescue and rigging operations where multiple people are needed to apply force to an object, such as a stretcher or piece of equipment. The jigger system allows the load to be distributed evenly among the users, making it easier to apply the necessary force. The jigger system can also be used to create a ready-made haul system, which can be used to move heavy objects from one location to another.

To use the jigger system, the user attaches the jigger pulleys to an anchor point and then attach the rope or strap to be used to the jigger pulleys. The user then applies force to the rope or strap, which is transferred through the jigger pulleys to the anchor point, resulting in a mechanical advantage. The jigger system can be used to increase the force applied in any direction, making it an versatile tool for a variety of rescue and rigging operations.

Generally, these beauties are considered pre-rigged pulley systems used mainly for hauling, but can be very important in lowering heavy loads as well as well as “hundreds of other uses”.

The advantage of these systems is in their rapid deployment, and straightforward operation without advanced levels of training or expertise. They are low maintenance and high yield work horses and have been around for many a year.

From old (and new) time mariners, to arborists, to rescuers, to the backyard working guy (or gal), jiggers have much to offer. An obvious application in industrial height safety, is lifting the weight of a fallen worker so that he can be transferred to a lowering rope. Arborists use many a jigger (fiddle blocks) for raising and pre-tensioning heavy loads. General riggers can apply these gems in hundreds of other manners (from pulling to maintaining).

Examples of  jiggers are many… we’ll cover the two most common.  Often, these can be built via standard double sheave pulleys. Within courses like Horizontal Systems, Mechanical Advantage Systems, Confined Space Rescue and others, we’ll bring in many others.

Peace on your Days



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