A few months ago I began to sketch out some ideas for a forcible entry prop. We had some scrap steel at the station, a few left over 6′x6′ posts from a recent structural collapse training and being the Rescue Company, all the tools necessary to take ingredients and idea into reality.
My initial idea was to build a prop that we could mount on the 6′x6′ set in the ground behind the station. The goal was to have a spot where firefighters could get high repetition practice in striking, setting and changing tool position which would in turn ingrain options and problem solving. I also wanted the prop to be very portable, something that could get passed around the department and plugged into other training sessions as an additional skill, or incorporated into fundamental skill training for new firefighters which allowed for simple instruction and demonstration of tool leverage and positioning. The end product as of now is what can be best described as a jamb mounted forcible entry technique prop.
It is not a full door prop which presents benefits of portability but also limitations in reality.
The prop requires an existing wall, post or doorway to mount.
The prop is spring loaded so it does not provide the feeling of failing a locking mechanism or door frame.
It is not a forcible entry prop, it is a technique prop.
The training goal for the prop is to have firefighters work through a variety of tool positions and movements in succession with high repetition.
LOTS OF REPS OF BAD TECHNIQUE IS BAD TRAINING – I am not an expert on forcible entry techniques and I am not familiar with your department. In the attached video I provide some technique instruction while I demonstrate prop use. If this counters your training or department SOP please disregard and simply focus on the potential value of the prop for your situation.
The upside is this prop is very inexpensive, portable, and as long as you are aware of the limitations and have a plan on how to use it within those limitations to provide quality training it has potential.
I am not the type of person looking to get rich quick, I am not a professional instructor, I am a horrible welder and I know that anytime you show a fireman a mouse trap, he comes up with 10 different ways from Sunday to build a better one. With that said, take this for what it is worth. I myself can think of hundreds of additional modifications to this prop for future or one off designs. I can pick myself apart for how I could improve my instruction in the video, I just don’t have the time or energy for a futile attempt at perfect. I am willing to share a base concept and in exchange for full disclosure on components and design I simply ask that you take it forward and refine it, make it work for you and others in a productive fashion.
Two pieces angle iron at 54″ in length and one piece steel bar 54″ in length to create mock door jamb which is wide enough to “cap” your desired mounting place. I selected 6″ wide to easily fit to a milled 6″x6″ post (5.5″x5.5″) and also fits a finished interior doorway of a standard 2″x4″ framed residential.
One piece of 1 1/2″ square tubing with scrap piece to cap at 54″ in length to create mock door.
The “secret ingredient” to this prop is a Red Head Dynabolt Sleeve Anchor Bolt with the sleeve removed. The reason this is so important is that with the sleeve removed, the wedge end of the anchor allows the threaded side of the bolt to travel freely on a pivot in 360 degrees. This is what creates the opportunity for the tools to be worked over and over again in a variety of positions on the prop to varying depths without sheering bolts or failing material
Drill holes for your Red Heads at 6″ from top and bottom of your “door” aka square tubing as well as center point. Find 3 springs of adequate length and tension, lock and flat washers and prepare to finalize the prop.
First with a set of Channel Lock Pliers, thread the spring into the square tubing. This is important so that the most even resistance is maintained. By using the full spring partially in the square tubing and partially on the threaded bolt it ensures a pressurized “Gap” initially. If you simply cut the spring and back it to the square tubing the resistance will not be as even through out. This also ensures the most adjust-ability as you have essentially twice the spring to work with. You then push the Red head from the wedge end through a flat washer, through the mock jamb, through the spring sleeve in the mock door and cap with a lock washer and nut until desired resistance is set.
Test your spring tension settings (completely by feel, no torque wrench here) and then drill two holes high and low, centered in the steel bar to fit your desired method of anchoring. In this case I drilled a 1/2″ h*** but typically use 3/8″ lags.
Framed Wall Mount
Mounted on Pekel Prop
I won’t even attempt to take credit for this idea as I am sure it already exists and is being used in some way shape or form among the creative minds that we work with. As I said before I am not out for a patent or recognition I am here to share an idea which I know you have the power to make better. Nothing is perfect or substitutes for real life but at some point you have to stop filling the metaphoric tool box and start using tools.
I believe that with anything I do, be it writing an article, shooting a video or sharing an idea my measure of success is providing you a spark; the ignition point of something all your own.
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