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The Irons: Forcible Entry & Door Control

The Irons: Forcible Entry & Door Control

Besides the standard ensemble of turnout gear, box light, SCBA, and a radio, it is expected for firefighters to dismount their apparatus upon arrival with the essential tools of the trade (TIC, Can, etc.) with an objective and goal in mind. Typically, this includes a set of irons which tend to be placed off to the side once a fortified door has been forced.

With the door forced and needed to be in the open position for line advancement, often firefighters use traditional wooden door chocks which when used properly serve a purpose, but I’d much rather reserve their use for stopping a sprinkler head or plugging a drum.

Frequently, with their placement being ground level, door chocks become dislodged from the knees and/or feet of advancing firefighters or the charged handline getting pulled through the door. When this occurs, the closing of the door poses a potential threat by pinching the hose or by blocking the firefighters in the room/compartment.

Utilizing the set of irons brought to the door, place the flat head axe as shown in the photo below to prop the door in the open position and secure it in place with a tap or two (2) from your Halligan. 

By placing the axe in this manner, with the handle following the direction of the handline, the axe now serves a few purposes:

  • The flat head holds the door open for handline advancement
  • The handle can be used as an aid/guide when determining if the open door is a wall or door during limited visibility environments.
  • If an Officer stages at the door with a TIC while a primary is conducted, he/she can place the handle off of the door at a 45 degree to extend themselves into the room a few more feet without compromising their situational awareness and area familiarization.
  • Should conditions outside the room/compartment deteriorate and warrant the door to close, the handle can easily be grabbed, pulling the head free from the base of the floor.

Taking the Halligan with you, provides a means of sounding the floor, breaching walls, venting windows, extending your reach, and can be used in conjunction with webbing to drag/pull an occupant to an environment more conducive to life.

Implementing a set of irons to your everyday ensemble offers much more than the ability to force entry. Maintaining tool integrity can make the difference in meeting success with your objective and potentially saving a life. 

AB Turenne is a 22-year veteran of the fire service in Eastern Connecticut. As a Certified Level II Fire Service Instructor, AB's training curriculum has proven to be conducive with the operational needs of those he teaches and in turn has improved the human capital knowledge of many. A graduate from the Masters of Public Administration program at Anna Maria College, AB has continued his efforts in training and education by contributing to the Fire Engineering Training Community.

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