Title:
Portable rescue hoist
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A portable hoist foundation apparatus and portable hoist system are presented. The portable hoist foundation apparatus is positioned across an aperture in a floor. The portable hoist foundation apparatus is fitted to receive a hoist means. The fitting may be a collar that in turn is fitted with an eye to receive a hoist rope, cable, pulley or block and tackle. The portable hoist system includes the portable hoist foundation apparatus fitted to receive a hoist means. The hoist means include attaching a rope to the hoist foundation apparatus so fitted. The rope inserted through a carabiner at the object to be lifted. Power applied to the rope draws the object up to the floor above. Alternatively, a pulley system is attached to the hoist foundation apparatus. A rope fitted through the pulley system. The object is attached to the rope and power is applied to lift the object.



Inventors:
Loayza, George (South Riding, VA, US)
Application Number:
10/977836
Publication Date:
05/18/2006
Filing Date:
11/01/2004
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04G3/28
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CHAVCHAVADZE, COLLEEN MARGARET
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
George Loayza (South Riding, VA, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A portable hoist foundation apparatus comprising: a rigid member said rigid member positioned to span an aperture; and a fitting for receiving a hoisting means, said fitting positioned upon the rigid member.

2. The portable hoist foundation apparatus of claim 1 wherein the rigid member is tubular in shape.

3. The portable hoist foundation apparatus of claim 2 wherein the rigid member is constructed from the group comprising aluminum, aluminum alloys, titanium and alloys thereof.

4. The portable hoist foundation apparatus of claim 2 wherein the fitting is collar, said collar encircling the tubular rigid member and further said collar is fitted to accept a hoisting means.

5. The portable hoist foundation apparatus of claim 4 wherein the collar is fixedly attached to the tubular rigid member.

6. The portable hoist foundation apparatus of claim 4 wherein the collar is applied by sliding said collar onto the tubular rigid member wherein the said collar is variably positioned along the tubular rigid member's longitudinal axis.

7. The portable hoist foundation apparatus of claim 6 wherein the collar is further fitted with a slide prevention means to resist unintended repositioning of the collar.

8. The portable hoist foundation apparatus of claim 7 wherein the slide prevention means is a toggle clamp.

9. A portable hoist system comprising: a hoisting means for lifting and lowering cargo through an aperture; a rigid member foundation for anchoring the portable hoist system, said rigid member variably positioned across the aperture; and a hoist attachment means for attaching the hoisting means to the rigid member foundation.

10. The portable hoist system of claim 9 wherein the rigid member foundation is tubular in shape.

11. The portable hoist system of claim 10 wherein the rigid member foundation is constructed from the group comprising aluminum, aluminum alloys, titanium and alloys thereof.

12. The portable hoist system of claim 10 wherein the hoist attachment means comprises a collar that encircles the rigid member foundation for accepting a hoisting means.

13. The portable hoist system of claim 12 wherein the collar is fixedly attached to the tubular rigid member foundation.

14. The portable hoist system of claim 12 wherein the collar is positioned by sliding said collar onto the tubular rigid member wherein the said collar is variably positioned along the tubular rigid member's longitudinal axis.

15. The portable hoist system of claim 14 wherein the collar is further adapted for resisting unintended sliding along the tubular rigid member's longitudinal axis.

16. The portable hoist system of claim 15 wherein the collar is adapted with a toggle clamp for resisting unintended sliding along the tubular rigid member's longitudinal axis.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to a portable, quickly deployable hoist system and apparatus.

2. Background Information

Hoists are used for many applications including cargo movement and rescue. Hoist systems and apparatus are numerous and may be permanent, semi-fixed and portable.

There is a group of portable hoist systems used primarily for rescue in confined spaces. Rescuing a firefighter who has fallen through a hole in a weakened floor requires a portable hoist, adapted for a confined space,

Firefighters are at risk of falling through a hole created in a floor of a building due to structural integrity loss caused by fire. It is imperative that the rescue of a firefighter or other potential victim who has fallen through an irregular hole be done as quickly as possible. Sometimes a ladder is an effective tool in implementing the rescue.

Most of the confined space portable hoist systems and apparatuses on the market are based on: a tripod base; a fitting to receive a rope or cable where the fitting is a pulley or tackle suspended from the tripod's vortex; and a hoisting mechanism or force to implement the lifting. Often, the hoisting force is human power, particularly in urgent circumstances.

The portable tripod is set up and adjusted so that the legs span the irregular opening in the floor. The tripod's legs must be positioned on the floor where there is sufficient structural integrity to support the weight of the individual to be rescued and any other incidental cargo. Precious time may be lost in setting up the tripod foundation.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,305,478 to Geisinger entitled “Anchoring and rescue apparatus” describes a portable rescue device supported by a planar member mounted within and upon the periphery of an opening. The specific application is for support and rescue of an individual within a chamber through a pre-existing opening. The specific application is for rescue in a sewer chamber where the supporting planar member sits upon the lip that normally supports a manhole cover. It also teaches that ears extending beyond and above the manhole periphery can enhance the stability of the rescue anchor. Geisinger requires the opening having a lip and defined periphery to place the supporting cross member. The conditions present during a building fire make the invention taught by Geisinger impractical.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,772,183 to Sears entitled “Portable lifting apparatus for demountable positioning in an overhead location” describes a portable lifting device supported by a beam assembly attached to a biped base by a pair of pivotal legs. Lifting is accomplished through a mechanical device mounted on the beam assembly. The feet are adjustably positioned to straddle an attic opening. The beam assembly is adjusted by attaching the assembly parts at different positions and affixing using bolts. A cable is used to support cargo that is being lifted or lowered. The Sears' invention is similar to the tripod form readily available in the rescue apparatus industry. It has similar drawbacks to wit: it is bulky; requires time consuming adjustments; requires time consuming setup; and needs a firm footing.

There are a series of patents addressing rescuing individuals from a roof. An example of one such patent is U.S. Pat. No. 6,539,676 to Price entitled “Portable roof anchor” is one of a genre of patents issued for rescue of fire victims from a roof of a tall building. The anchoring device for the cable support taught in the Price invention is a series of counter weights.

Under emergencies, such as a firefighter having fallen through a floor or where a potential victim is trapped on the floor below his companions, a rapidly set up, non-bulky portable hoist system is essential. Preferably the hoist system should be: lightweight; the base easily positioned or held above the irregular opening; relatively strong and rigid; and manageable by a few users.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to provide a rapidly deployable portable hoist apparatus and system.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a portable hoist foundation apparatus and portable hoist system that can be held while being deployed.

Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a portable hoist foundation apparatus and portable hoist system that can be positioned across portable supports while being deployed.

Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a portable hoist foundation apparatus and portable hoist system that can be suspended from overhead beams while being deployed.

A further object of the present invention is to provide a portable hoist system having a rigid member spanning an aperture.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a portable hoist foundation apparatus wherein the rigid member is tubular in shape.

Still a further object of the present invention is to provide an easily portable hoist foundation apparatus wherein the rigid member is constructed from the group comprising aluminum, aluminum alloys, titanium and alloys thereof.

Yet a further object of the present invention is to provide a portable hoist foundation apparatus wherein a collar encircling the tubular rigid member accepts a hoisting means.

Still another object of the present invention is to provide a tubular portable hoist foundation apparatus with a collar fixedly attached to the tubular rigid member near the center of the tubular rigid member.

A further object of the present invention is to provide a tubular portable hoist foundation apparatus with a collar positioned on the tubular member by sliding the collar along the tubular member's longitudinal axis.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a tubular portable hoist foundation apparatus with a collar variably positioned on the tubular member and, once positioned, to apply a mechanical brake to resist sliding of the collar.

Still another object of the present invention is to provide an easily portable hoist system for lifting and lowering cargo through a hole where the tubular rigid foundation is constructed from the group comprising aluminum, aluminum alloys, titanium and alloys thereof providing a strong and lightweight foundation.

A further object of the present invention is to provide an easily portable hoist system for lifting and lowering cargo through a hole where the hoisting means is attached to a rigid tubular foundation by a collar that encircles the foundation for accepting a hoisting means.

Yet another object of the present invention is to provide an easily portable hoist system for lifting and lowering cargo through a hole where the hoisting means is attached to a rigid tubular foundation by a collar that encircles the foundation for accepting a hoisting means. The collar is fixedly attached to the foundation close to the center of the rigid tubular foundation.

Still a further object of the present invention is to provide an easily portable hoist system for lifting and lowering cargo through an aperture the hoisting means is attached to a rigid tubular foundation by a collar. The encircling collar variably positioned over the tubular foundation by sliding the collar along the tubular foundation.

Yet another object of the present invention is to provide an easily portable hoist system for lifting and lowering cargo through an aperture, the hoisting means attached to a rigid tubular foundation by a collar. The encircling collar, once positioned on the tubular foundation, is locked in place with a break.

The present invention is an apparatus and system that is portable, rapidly set up that allows efficient, speedy hoisting of cargo through a hole in a floor. Emergency rescue in a burning building is one of many applications of the present invention. The foundation apparatus is rigid and lightweight fitted to receive a hoisting means. The foundation is positioned across the hole through which the rescue is to be implemented. The ends of the foundation can be supported by rescuers while other rescuers operate the hoist means.

Alternatively, a portable support structure is employed to hold the hoist foundation. The portable support may be stanchions, beam hangers or other means.

In one embodiment, the foundation is a hollow tube made from a lightweight, strong material such as aluminum, titanium or alloys thereof. Note that the tubular embodiment is not exclusive. The foundation may be a plank, a rigid lattice or any number of configurations that offer simplicity of setup, hole spanning capability, strength and lightweight.

Further embodiments provide a collar to allow attachment of a hoist means to the foundation. Alternative embodiments of the present invention provide for a collar to encircle the rigid tubular foundation. The collar may be fixedly attached to the foundation apparatus or it may be variably positioned on the foundation apparatus. Extending from the collar is an eye or ring with or without a carabiner used for receiving the hoist means.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the collar is movable along the foundation's longitudinal axis. The collar is further fixed from sliding by applying a breaking mechanism. One alternative is to fixedly attach a toggle clamp to the collar such that when the toggle clamp is engaged, the toggle clamp's breaking surface is applied to the foundation's surface, In this manner the collar resists slipping under load.

It is not intended to exclude other fittings or attachments that do not use a collar. For example, a simple eye can be attached fixedly by bolting, screwing or welding the eye to the foundation.

The stated as well as other objectives and embodiments will become apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

FIG. 1 is a cutaway view of two floors in building where a firefighter has fallen through a breach in the upper floor.

FIG. 2 is a side view of the present invention with carabiner and doubled lead rope.

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a cutaway view of firefighters using the present invention to hoist a fallen firefighter from the floor using double lead rope.

FIG. 5 is a cutaway view of firefighters using the present invention to hoist a fallen firefighter from the floor below using a pulley and single lead rope.

FIG. 6 is a rear view of a firefighter with airpack with carabiners snapped about the airpack support straps.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention, in its fundamental embodiment, is a rigid tubular structure such as hollow tube with a collar encircling the rigid tubular structure. The collar is positioned at or near the center of the rigid tubular structure. The collar is fitted to receive a hoist system. The hoist system uses a cable or rope (hereinafter referred to as a rope) inserted through or attached to the fitted collar. Individuals support the rigid tubular structure. Other individuals work the hoist to lift the cargo.

In the primary embodiment, a bracket, fixedly attached to the collar, receives a swivel eyebolt. The threaded end of the eyebolt protrudes through a hole in the bracket. A nut holds the eyebolt to the bracket. The eye end of the swivel eyebolt receives a carabiner, which in turn accepts a rope for lifting the victim. A rope, in an alternate embodiment, may be threaded through the eyebolt without using a carabiner.

The following description poses rescuing a firefighter who has fallen through a breach in the floor caused by structural damage due to a fire. A rapid rescue of a fallen firefighter is the inspiration of the present invention. However, use of the present invention is not limited to hoisting a firefighter or even to a rescue situation. There are applications outside of the situation of an emergency rescue for which the present invention would be well suited.

Referring to FIG. 1, a cut away of two floors of a building shows a fallen firefighter 50 having fallen through a breach 10 in a building's floor 20. Firefighters 30 are attempting to rescue fallen firefighter 50 from the lower floor 22. The first line of rescue is by ladder 40. Sometimes the fallen firefighter 50 is injured or disoriented and further assistance is required.

Referring to FIG. 2, the side view of the present invention with a fitted collar is shown. A tubular rigid foundation support 100 is fitted with a collar 110 that encircles the tubular rigid foundation support. Sliding the collar 110 along the tubular rigid foundation support 100 axis variably positions the collar 110. A bracket 120 protrudes from the collar. In the embodiment shown, the bracket is welded to the collar 110. A swivel eyebolt 121 is inserted and fastened to the bracket 120. The eye end 122 of the eyebolt provides the interface to the hoist system.

In an alternate embodiment of the present invention, the collar 110 is fixedly attached to the tubular rigid foundation support 100.

In the depicted embodiment of the present invention, a carabiner 130 is positioned through the eye end 122 of the swivel eyebolt. A rope 80 is affixed to the carabiner by a knot in one embodiment of the present invention. The rope so positioned provides a two leads 81, 82 available for lifting the fallen firefighter or other cargo. FIG. 4 below illustrates a double lead rope to hoist a fallen firefighter. A single lead rope is an alternate embodiment depicted in FIG. 5.

The carabiner 130 is not required and the rope 80 may be attached or threaded throw the eye end 122 of the swivel eyebolt. An advantage of the carabiner 130 arrangement shown in FIG. 2 is that the rope 80 is pre-attached to the carabiner, thus shortening the amount of time required to set up for retrieval. The carabiner 130 quickly affixes to the eye end 122 of the swivel eyebolt. This arrangement may save some time when response time is critical.

Also shown in FIG. 2 is a toggle clamp 140. The toggle clamp 140, in an embodiment of the present invention, is fixedly attached to the collar 110 by mounting the toggle clamp on the exterior surface of collar. Screws or bolts mount the toggle clamp to the collar. Toggle handle 142, when pivoted about the toggle clamp bracket 144 causes the toggle clamp body 146 to extend or retract thus causing the toggle clamp arm 148 to vertically raise and lower. At the end of the toggle clamp arm 148 is a foot 150 that raises and lowers. A hole in the collar is positioned such to receive the toggle clamp foot 150.

Thus, by lowering the toggle clamp foot 150 and locking the toggle clamp foot 150 in place by the toggle clamp, the foot's bottom frictionally engages the exterior surface of the rigid foundation support 100. The toggle clamp foot 150 is comprised of high friction material, such as a rubber compound, thus acting as a brake. In this way, the collar tends to stay in position, resisting sliding along the tubular rigid foundation support 100. The toggle provides a utilitarian function of resisting slippage of the collar 110.

The tubular rigid foundation support 100 is the hoist foundation. It is lightweight and portable. In various embodiments, the tubular rigid foundation support 100 is constructed from one of the choice of materials including aluminum, titanium, alloys of aluminum and alloys of titanium.

The tubular rigid foundation support 100 may be constructed from other materials, metallic and non-metallic, not enumerated above, including, but not limited to polymers; plastics and ceramics.

Referring to FIG. 3, the cross sectional view of the present invention is shown. The fitted collar 110 inner diameter is sufficient to receive the tubular rigid foundation support 100. The bracket 120 is fixedly attached to the outside of the collar 110.

A swivel eyebolt 121 is shown. The threaded end 124 of the swivel eyebolt is inserted through a hole in the bracket 120. The threaded end 124 enters the channel formed between the bracket 120 and the collar's exterior wall. A nut 126 holds the eyebolt within bracket channel without impeding the eyebolt from swiveling.

FIG. 4 shows a cutaway view of rescue firefighters 31, 32 using the present invention to hoist a fallen firefighter. Positioned around the eye 122 of the swivel eyebolt 121 protruding from a bracket 120 is a carabiner 130. Inserted through the carabiner 130 is a rope 80. Depicted in FIG. 4 are two firefighters 31 holding the present invention tubular rigid foundation support 100. The embodiment depicted in FIG. 4 does not have the rope knotted as was shown in FIG. 2.

Each end of the rope 80 is inserted through a separate carabiner 52 (only one viewable in this figure) attached to straps 54 worn by the fallen firefighter. The straps support an airpack 56 worn as a matter of course by firefighters.

Note, that the rescue rope 80 may be threaded through any support structure attached to the fallen firefighter's equipment such as an eye on the airpack itself or, as depicted, carabiners 52 snapped onto the airpack straps 54 or other equipment worn by the firefighter.

If the victim is not wearing straps, netting wrapped around the victim so designed to secure a victim may be used. Carabiners are then snapped to the netting.

Other rescue firefighters 32 hoist the fallen firefighter 50 up by lifting the rope 80 at the work end 84. As the lifting rescuers pull the rope 80 at the work end 84, the victim is raised through the hole 10 in the floor 20.

In an alternative embodiment depicted in FIG. 5, one end of the rope 80 is secured by a knot 82 to the present invention at the carabiner 130 snapped around the eye end 122 of the swivel eyebolt. The other end of the rope is threaded around a pulley 70. In an alternative embodiment, a block and tackle (not shown) is used instead of a simple pulley. A carabiner is used to secure the pulley 70 to the fallen firefighter's equipment. The airpack 56 support strap 54 serves as the base to which the carabiner is attached. One or more firefighters lift the victim by pulling the work end 84 of the rope.

The work advantage afforded by a block and tackle allows less effort in raising the fallen firefighter. A simple pulley 70 provides no work advantage. More than one rescue firefighter 32 might have to be present to pull on the work end 84 of the rope in order to retrieve the fallen firefighter.

Referring to FIG. 6, a rear view of a firefighter with airpack with carabiners snapped about the airpack support straps. A firefighter wears an airpack 56 as a mater of course when entering a burning building. Support straps 54 allow the firefighter to wear the airpack as if it were a backpack.

Carabiners 52 are snapped around the support straps and the rope 80 is passed through the carabiners 52. The rope is used to hoist the firefighter up to safety. As depicted in FIG. 4, two or more rescue firefighters hoist the fallen firefighter by pulling up on their respective ends of the rope. In alternative embodiments, a single rope end is passed through a carabiner and the single sided rope threaded around a pulley is used to hoist the fallen firefighter consistent with FIG. 5.

In yet another embodiment, a pulley or block and tackle are used to assist in the hoisting. Block and tackle provide mechanical advantage so that a single lifting rescuer can easily hoist the victim.

A portable hoist foundation apparatus and hoist system have been described. It will also be understood that the invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from the spirit or central characteristics thereof. For example, the bracket protruding from the collar is described as being fixedly attached to the collar by welding. Alternative embodiments could include bolting the bracket or using other affixing methods. Further, the bracket could be attached to the collar without permanently affixing. Further still, the bracket could be avoided altogether. The mechanism used to receive the hoisting system could be suspended directly from the collar without using an intervening bracket.

Individuals support the present invention in the primary embodiment. It is not intended that this support means be limited. Other support means would include stanchions, platforms and even overhead hangers hanging from beams.

The present examples and embodiments, therefore, are to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive, and the invention is not to be limited to the details given herein.





 
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