University of Extrication: Jammed Door Set-up Technique

SUBJECT: Jammed Door Forcible Opening

Topic: Jammed Door Set-up Technique

OBJECTIVE: Given a simulated jammed door on a roof-resting vehicle, the rescuer will demonstrate a single-rescuer technique for setting up and opening up the door

TASK: The rescuer shall utilize only a power spreader tool to set up and open up a simulated jammed door of a roof-resting vehicle.

During vehicle rescue training, personnel become familiar with a variety of techniques for setting up a jammed door for opening either at the latch or at the hinges. The common use of the irons, squeezing the door with a power spreader, or even the “vertical crush” technique are effective procedures when preparing to open a door with a power spreader.

Because not all crash-damaged vehicles end in an upright position at a rescue incident, personnel must be able to set up any jammed door regardless of what position the door winds up in. This University of Extrication article looks at how we should train on setting up a jammed door when the vehicle is roof-resting.

Department training officers as well as vehicle rescue instructors should be teaching quick, tricks-of-the-trade procedures such as this to their personnel. The “real world” should simply be a repeat of experiences already gained through training!


TASK: The rescuer shall utilize only a power spreader tool to set up and open up a simulated jammed door of a roof-resting vehicle.


The training scenario is that only one rescuer is available to force open the jammed rear door on the passenger’s side of a roof-resting vehicle. It must be accomplished as efficiently as possible.

One effective door set-up technique is to use the inside of the tips of a power spreader to gain a purchase point. Drop one tip (shown on the right) down between the outside of the rocker and the bottom edge of the door. The second tip (shown on the left) straddles the opposite side of the rocker panel.

With each tip in position, operate the spreader as a squeezer. The intent is to crush the hollow rocker panel enough that a gap develops between the bottom edge of the door and the rocker itself. This is your “purchase point.”

Once the squeeze has created enough of a gap, release and position the spreader tips in the new opening you just created between the bottom door edge and the rocker.

Continue to spread the door down and away from the rocker, putting stress on the door latch assembly. An obvious gap is already apparent in this demonstration.

The spreader will have to be positioned to a more standard attack position along the rear edge of the door. The door latch assembly is stressed until failure and the simulated jammed door opens.