As limited staffing continues to be a concern for most fire departments, firefighters must do MORE with LESS. Although it is not ideal, a firefighter may be required to force a door by themselves. Whether this task is completed with one or two firefighters, the three primary principles of forcible entry remain constant: GAP-SET-FORCE. First you must “gap” the door to create an opening for your tools. Next you must “set” your tools appropriately. After your tools are in the right position, you can successfully defeat the locking mechanism(s) and “force” the door.
The following is step-by-step guide to single firefighter forcible entry of an inward-swinging door.
Step 1: Door Size-Up and Shocking the Door
After you have performed a thorough size-up of the door, shock the door with three solid hits of the halligan: High-Middle-Low. By striking the door, you will either loosen or defeat the door’s locking mechanisms while simultaneously creating a small gap for the next step. Some firefighters choose to strike the door with the fork of the halligan (pictured). Others may choose to strike the door with the blunt end of the halligan’s adz.
Step 2: Insert the Adz
Between the door and the door jamb, insert the adz and prepare to move the halligan in the opposite direction of the pike.
Step 3: Insert the Axe or Wedge
While moving the halligan in the opposite direction of the pike, simultaneously insert the axe into the gap that you have created. You will be driving the axe, using it as a wedge. If available, a commercial metal wedge may be inserted instead of the axe (i.e.-Troxfire FORCE® Wedge, Rescue Wedge®, 8 Wedge®).
Step 4: Drive and Set the Axe
While stabilizing the axe with your leg, create a larger gap by driving the butt of the axe with the blunt end of the halligan’s adz. Create a gap large enough to adequately set the fork or the adz of the halligan between the door and door frame.
Step 5: Force the Door
Insert the halligan’s fork (bevel to door) into the gap and push the halligan towards the door. If the door does not completely open, insert the halligan’s adz into the gap, grab it with both hands and pull towards the door.
Step 6: Control the Door
After you have defeated the locks and the door freely swings open, control the door with the adz or pike of the halligan. If the situation dictates, sound the floor with the halligan and sweep for victims. Pull the door closed until the engine company is ready to make entry with the attack line
Photo Courtesy Jim Moss & Steve Sagehorn