How To Open Jammed Doors

Response personnel shall explain how to utilize the collision beam of a door to reduce the overall time required to open a jammed door.Subject:  Opening Jammed Doors Topic:  Door Collision Beams Objective:  Response personnel shall explain how to...

Attacking a door at its exposed hinges can also be done in a brief period if the tool operator uses the collision beam(s) to assist in exposing the hinges or forcing the door.

If a side collision has bowed the door inward toward those trapped inside, the collision beam also bends or twists inward. The “vertical crush” method of forcing the door is well designed to move the top of the door and then the interior panel of the door down and out in a smooth, rolling action.

Rescue crews assigned to size up, set up and open up jammed doors must assess the location and design of the collision beam(s) inside the door. Look for signs of the beam’s location as you assess crash damage to the door. Many times, you will see the skin of the door form fit to the contour of the collision beam. Knowledge of how to work with this strong point of the door will allow crews to attain the recommended benchmark of less than 60 seconds to open any jammed door.

Ron Moore, a Firehouse contributing editor, is a battalion chief and the training officer for the McKinney, TX, Fire Department. He also authors a monthly online article in the “MembersZone” and serves as the Forum Moderator for the extrication section of the website. Moore can be contacted directly at