Fire Engineering Training Community

Where firefighters come to talk training

Forcible Entry: What Are You Doing?!?!

Forcible entry is always an interesting discussion around the service. On one side, you've got the forcible entry purists (myself included). These guys can force a door with a safety pin, a rock and a piece of duct tape. Despite their McGyver-esk skills, they prefer the irons.


On the other side of the discussion are the mule kickers. Often mistaken for SWAT Officers, these guys prefer the old size 10 for forcible entry. Kick... grimace... repeat. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.


Go to to see the videos and leave comments. Be SAFE

Views: 244


You need to be a member of Fire Engineering Training Community to add comments!

Join Fire Engineering Training Community

Comment by Michael Bricault (ret) on March 15, 2011 at 1:26pm
-Matt, you're absolutely right on about complacency in the fire service. Complacency is the thing responsible for more injuries and deaths than anything else.
-As for the "veterans" teaching the rookies... I'm reminded of a quote. "Do you have ten years experience or one year experience ten times?" Some people just don't get it.
-You can beat on an outward swinging door all day with everything from a sledge hammer to a Buick; it doesn't matter... the door opens the other way!
-Classes of instruction must have a classroom portion but that in no way negates the hands on portion of instruction. A student must get their hands on the tools.
-Forcible entry is one of the most important yet overlooked skills in the arsenal of todays firefighters. If you can't get passed the damn door nothing else matters!! It is a skill set and art form that is falling by the wayside largely due to a deficiency in educated, experienced practitioners and instructors.
-To combat this deficiency the academy here utilizes two props during basic training. Because FE is such an important skill and is a matter of company pride, we built a prop at the station to continually sharpen our skills with and to train our rookies when they come through.
-Larry, you comment is right on the head and reminds me of something Lee Iaccoc said, "Lead, follow or get out of the way".
Comment by Matt McDowell on March 14, 2011 at 10:16pm

Here's some jaw dropping info.  I know of a 16-hour Truck Company Operations class out there that is ALL CLASSROOM.  I'm serious.  Then we see guys standing at the back door of a well-off commercial building beating an outward swinging door to death with a _________ (enter any random and misused tool here).


Maybe the problem is AT THE ACADEMY.  The same firefighters who never learned it 10 years ago are NOW the ones responsible for teaching the new guys (or not).  They were never taught it, never learned it, never used it, never passed it on.


Complacency is like cancer, if you identify and aggressively combat it early, you have a good chance of overcoming it.  If you let it go undetected or untreated too long, it just gets worse and continues to spread.


Thank you both for your comments.  Be SAFE Brothers.

Comment by Larry Glover on March 14, 2011 at 9:15pm

"Matt, those in the fire service that rely on the mule kick or shoulder into the door stuff for forcible entry demonstrate their lack of professionalism and their failure to learn even the most rudimentary skills in this business."


Amen Brother.  Learn your craft or get the heck out!!

Comment by Michael Bricault (ret) on March 14, 2011 at 11:24am

-Matt, those in the fire service that rely on the mule kick or shoulder into the door stuff for forcible entry demonstrate their lack of professionalism and their failure to learn even the most rudimentary skills in this business.

-What's more, in the urban setting where everyone is crime conscious, doors are becoming virtual fortresses compounding the forcible entry issue. Where I work burglar bars on doors and windows are common on just about every occupancy anymore.

-Furthermore, those that have never learned how to use a set of irons always end up standing and staring at the door, with a really dumb, confused look on their face, when it finally dawns on them the door won't respond to the mule kick because its an outward swinging door. This is when panic sets in and they usually start screaming for someone to open the door for them.

-Amateurs, dummies, cops and panic stricken firemen kick/shoulder doors; professionals use tools.

Policy Page


The login above DOES NOT provide access to Fire Engineering magazine archives. Please go here for our archives.


Our contributors' posts are not vetted by the Fire Engineering technical board, and reflect the views and opinions of the individual authors. Anyone is welcome to participate.

For vetted content, please go to

Fire Engineering Editor in Chief Bobby Halton
We are excited to have you participate in our discussions and interactive forums. Before you begin posting, please take a moment to read our policy page. -- Bobby Halton

Be Alert for Spam
We actively monitor the community for spam, however some does slip through. Please use common sense and caution when clicking links. If you suspect you've been hit by spam, e-mail

FE Podcasts

Check out the most recent episode and schedule of

© 2022   Created by fireeng.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service