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Here is another great post from my friend Lance Peeples of the Webster Groves Fire Department in St. Louis County.  Thanks Lance and now for some fire-thinking to occur.


Review the following videos and answer the questions:




1.  Who is assigned the “Irons” or “Bar” position on your first alarm assignment?


2.  List EVERY tool the forcible entry (FE) firefighter (FF) should carry when he dismounts the apparatus for an alarm investigation at a multiple dwelling.


3.  Are these tools mounted near the riding position of the FE FF?


4.  Who is the FF on your first alarm who is designated to use the axe to drive the halligan while the FE FF holds the halligan in place?  What tools should he or she carry?  Are they mounted immediately adjacent to that riding position for quick access?


5.  Will a Rabbit tool (hydraulic forcible entry HFT) work on a door with angle iron shields?


6.  How would you defeat an inward opening door with angle iron shields that cover the entire length of the door?  What if another piece of angle iron (or a “U” channel) was attached to the door frame and thus prevented placing the fork of the halligan between the frame and the angle iron attached to the door?


7.  Is it acceptable to attack the hinge side of an apartment door in a multiple dwelling?  Why or why not?


8.  At multiple dwelling fires is it standard practice in your department to force an adjacent apartment door before forcing the fire apartment door?  What might be an advantage of doing this?



9.  Will a Rabbit (HFT) tool work on outward opening door?  What does an outward opening door in a multiple dwelling suggest to you?


10.  What do bolt heads projecting through a door suggest?


11.  Should the fork bevel be against or away from the door?  What are the advantages and disadvantages of each position?


12.  Some departments order halligan tools that are longer than the standard 30” length for increased leverage.  What is a serious disadvantage of longer tools?

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-Several of the questions you pose, though valid, are best answered in a proper FE class and are specific enough in their answers that tools and techniques must be demonstrated. But in a more general observation,

-On our ladder companies the firefighter sitting on the driver side is the member assigned forcible entry. The Irons and all FE equipment are located nearby that riding position.

-The tools consist of a set of Irons married with a strap which one member carries. He also can take the A tool for thru the lock situations. There is a much less used K tool, full set of elevator keys, bolt cutters and mauls. 

-Generally the driver or another member of the ladder company will take the Rabbit tool if the occupancy necessitates such a specialized tool.

-Further, we train our firefighters in one and two person FE in such an event that one fireman must accomplish FE singlehanded. These techniques involve the member learning how to correctly use the set of Irons (both tools together) by himself.

-As for the positioning of the Halligan during FE this will be dictated by the door: inward swinging or outward. The proper positioning and use of the tool itself is a basic skill taught, as is choosing which end of the Halligan to use. 2 firemen; 2 forks and no spatial limitations... use the fork. 1 fireman or spatial limitations in the work area... use the Adz.

-And no, a Rabbit will not work on outward swinging doors. It is designed to work a specific way on inward swinging doors. There is enough improvisation taking place on scene already; use the correct tool for the job and work safely. 

-Learning proper FE techniques will alleviate the need for "specialized" halligan bars and the like. Learn your tools, their abilities and perform the job properly. Remember, slow is fast; fast is slow.

-Hinge side FE is an option but remember it is much slower than conventional FE and therein lies the solution. Forcible entry is not about force... it is about time. FE uses specialized tools to gain access when the access is locked, blocked or not provided. If there were time firefighters could wait for a key or find an alternative form of entry. If FE is performed it is because it has been determined that firefighters can no longer wait for another method of access and must gain entry immediately. Time. Thus, the tools and techniques that work best are those that save us the most time.

-If damage is a consideration than FE should not be concidered. The inescapable reality is that force is being used to replicate a "key" in order to gain immediate access. TIME.

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