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Thread: Residential forcible entry

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    Default Residential forcible entry

    To make a long story short, a fellow fire fighter and I were having a bit of a debate about options during residential forcible entry.

    Background:
    Our coverage area typically includes newer style homes with ornate front doors and entrance ways. As I'm sure readers are aware, many of these ornate leaded glass doors can be extremely costly and a challenge for forcible entry.

    It has been common practice in my department for entry teams to choose to knock out a small portion of the leaded glass area instead of forcing the door mechanically to try to salvage the door. While I understand this practice might not work for doors with larger glass side panes it has seemed to work excellent for my department. Significantly cutting down on damage and force time.

    My friend who is a firefighter from a different state explained to me the other night that this practice was heavily avoided in his academy and response area. His main concern was the loss of control of that vent point once the glass is broken. This to me makes perfect sense. However, in my view the benefits out way the risks.

    What are members thoughts on this practice.

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    I should also add that this practice has only been employed for your typical "one room job". Never when signs of flashover or backdraft are present.

    Additionally, we only remove enough glass for the member to reach in and manipulate the lock by hand.

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    Small piece of glass shouldn't be a problem, especially if hoseline is following up quickly. There is also a downside to conventinal forcible entry if it slows you down considerably. Time is our enemy.
    Generally speaking, residential forcible entry is not overly difficult or time consuming. Maybe you guys are overthinking this.

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    In a fire situation, the cost of a door has not ever been a consideration. As far as ventilation is concerned, have you ever actually closed a door that you have forced behind you after you make entry?

    All I consider is how heavily barricaded the door is. I will typically try the door for no more that 15-20 seconds. If we don't get it by then, I'll just take out one of the windows that are normally within arms length of the door and go in that way.
    Last edited by MemphisE34a; 05-12-2014 at 11:20 PM.
    RK
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    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

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    For non-fire operations, we have been using a W Tool from http://www.weddletoolco.com/

    Haven't run into a door that we can't open in under a minute at most. Have been able to re-close and secure every door after entry.

    Fire operations....open the door. Even mostly closing the door after opening will restrict air flow. As for the small pane of glass, sounds reasonable.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    For non-fire operations, we have been using a W Tool from http://www.weddletoolco.com/
    Haven't run into a door that we can't open in under a minute at most. Have been able to re-close and secure every door after entry.
    We use the Zic-Quick bar(?) used to hang old style ejectors fans for the same purpose as the Weddle, but in the case discussed here, the leaded glass would have little give, resulting in it breaking, apparently something that someone's trying to avoid?

    If there's fire inside, we wouldn't worry about the damage of single door: use whatever provides the fastest access and allows the most control, seemingly the small pane at the lock area.
    Last edited by RFDACM02; 05-12-2014 at 05:44 AM. Reason: keyboard caused spellig errors

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    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a View Post
    In a fire situation of a door has not ever been a consideration. As far as ventilation is concerned, have you ever actually closed a door that you have forced behind you after you make entry?

    All I consider is how heavily barricaded the door is. I will typically try the door for no more that 15-20 seconds. If we don't get it by then, I'll just take out one of the windows that are normally within arms length of the door and go in that way.
    Closing a door behind you should definitely be a considered tactic after gaining entry. Chocking it open and moving on constitutes uncontrolled ventilation. Depending on status of hoseline, this may or may not be a problem. If search team is well ahead of line they should close door behind them. Fire conditions, layout of building and level of fire confinement are also factors, but some of them won't be known at the time door is forced. These are all things we need to think about in the modern fire service.

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    Quote Originally Posted by captnjak View Post
    Closing a door behind you should definitely be a considered tactic after gaining entry. Chocking it open and moving on constitutes uncontrolled ventilation. Depending on status of hoseline, this may or may not be a problem. If search team is well ahead of line they should close door behind them. Fire conditions, layout of building and level of fire confinement are also factors, but some of them won't be known at the time door is forced. These are all things we need to think about in the modern fire service.
    Excellent post. The new research has shown the bi-directional flow of smoke out in the upper part of the door opening and fresh air in at the bottom is a one-two punch towards uncontrolled fire growth and a potential flashover situation.

    Closing the door, or if a hoseline is moving through, closing the door as far as possible is the best way to help control a ventilation controlled fire. It is a huge paradigm shift in the fire service to think this way and add to that the transitional attack and BOOM! Culture Shock!! What have we been taught since the academy, vent early and vent often! Get the heat out! Now we are finding with today's fuels fires burn hotter, faster, and create smoke that is thick, black and nothing more than unburned fire waiting to ignite.

    There will be skeptics for many years regarding both ventilation controlled fires and transitional attack, but now having seen the studies, watched the videos, and listened to those involved, I am a 100% convert and will use these tactics when appropriate to the situation before me
    Crazy, but that's how it goes
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    Quote Originally Posted by captnjak View Post
    Closing a door behind you should definitely be a considered tactic after gaining entry. Chocking it open and moving on constitutes uncontrolled ventilation. Depending on status of hoseline, this may or may not be a problem. If search team is well ahead of line they should close door behind them. Fire conditions, layout of building and level of fire confinement are also factors, but some of them won't be known at the time door is forced. These are all things we need to think about in the modern fire service.
    I can buy that when you are forcing entry to do anything other than put the fire out. From the aspect of the engine officer, I have water to take care of intensifying fire if it does so before we get to the base to completely extinguish it.

    Additionally, I long ago gave up the idea of "not spraying water on smoke". If you are in a situation where its getting too hot, you can always open up and cool things down.
    RK
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    Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

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    As far as the ventilation aspect goes, i agree with most of the members that have posted... not concerned with the small front door proximity of the broken glass. Assuming that you might be using other methods to control the environment like the UL study transitional attack, or horizontal ventilation (done properly). The only time you "might" be concerned with it would be the situations indicated in the original post that you would absolutely avoid it anyway, backdraft, flashover, etc.

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    Just this past Wednesday, I had to do forcible entry at an elderly woman's house after she had fallen and been down for about 18 hours. Every door was locked and deadbolted--as elderly folks usually have it--but she did have a standard door with a window in it. I was able to break the glass and reach in to unlock it. Neighbors had covered the hole with OSB before we left and the premises were secured with a minimum of help-yourself look for potential burglars.

    But had the place been on fire, I would not have been so scientific. Door preservation is a very low priority if there is any significant fire evident. Food on the stove, AFA, smoke odor, maybe. But not on a meaningful fire.
    "Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.
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    Quote Originally Posted by EastKyFF View Post
    Just this past Wednesday, I had to do forcible entry at an elderly woman's house after she had fallen and been down for about 18 hours. Every door was locked and deadbolted--as elderly folks usually have it--but she did have a standard door with a window in it. I was able to break the glass and reach in to unlock it. Neighbors had covered the hole with OSB before we left and the premises were secured with a minimum of help-yourself look for potential burglars.

    But had the place been on fire, I would not have been so scientific. Door preservation is a very low priority if there is any significant fire evident. Food on the stove, AFA, smoke odor, maybe. But not on a meaningful fire.
    Sounds like the way you went would still be the way to go at a "meaningful" fire. It was quick, allows for door to be controlled after entry and, assuming the pane of glass was not large, it would not negatively affect the fire itself.
    RFDACM02 likes this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by captnjak View Post
    Sounds like the way you went would still be the way to go at a "meaningful" fire. It was quick, allows for door to be controlled after entry and, assuming the pane of glass was not large, it would not negatively affect the fire itself.
    True. But I was quite a bit more cautious in busting the glass than if I'd been gaining entry for firefighting--a little more finesse with the halligan as opposed to just hauling off and slugging it.
    "Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.
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    Just remember there are two types of deadbolts -some have a "thumbturn " latch , some require a key . If you can see through the glass you need to scope it out.
    ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by slackjawedyokel View Post
    Just remember there are two types of deadbolts -some have a "thumbturn " latch , some require a key . If you can see through the glass you need to scope it out.
    Yes, we were rolling the dice that it was a thumbturn. Fortunately we won. Blinds were closed and no other windows offered a view of the inside of the door. Always a consideration with less-destructive entry.
    "Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.
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    One thing to keep in mind... If you're going to break a pane of glass in the door thinking you'll just reach in and open the lock, be sure to make some noise before sticking your hand in. There might be a pit bull on the other side looking for something to sink his teeth into.

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    Wouldn't that pit bull be a problem with ANY method of entry?

    Has anyone tried using the can for a blast of water in dog's face?

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    Quote Originally Posted by captnjak View Post
    Wouldn't that pit bull be a problem with ANY method of entry?

    Has anyone tried using the can for a blast of water in dog's face?
    Used a ABC on a dog one time, he backed off and left us alone. Watched a deputy use pepper spray on a agreesive pit bull one time. The dog started licking his lips and didn't act like bothered him at all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by captnjak View Post
    Wouldn't that pit bull be a problem with ANY method of entry?

    Has anyone tried using the can for a blast of water in dog's face?
    I think it would be worse for him to latch on to your hand and drag you through a 2x2 window opening
    ?

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    I'm glad I don't live where you guys do. Here we just turn the knob and go in. I can only think of one call in the past 15years where we went to a residence and had to forcibly gain entry. And that as easy as throwing the skinny guy through a window (yes it was open - we didn't break the glass with the guy's helmet or anything). Everything else the house has been unlocked.

    What is a dead-bolt?

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    Quote Originally Posted by len1582 View Post
    One thing to keep in mind... If you're going to break a pane of glass in the door thinking you'll just reach in and open the lock, be sure to make some noise before sticking your hand in. There might be a pit bull on the other side looking for something to sink his teeth into.
    The biggest issue we have ever had that way was a fire where we had a 400 pound sow carry the assistant chief out the door because he was in the way of her getting out. Wish we would have had some video of that one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HuntPA View Post
    The biggest issue we have ever had that way was a fire where we had a 400 pound sow carry the assistant chief out the door because he was in the way of her getting out. Wish we would have had some video of that one.
    That's no way to talk about the lady of the house!
    slackjawedyokel likes this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by captnjak View Post
    Wouldn't that pit bull be a problem with ANY method of entry?

    Has anyone tried using the can for a blast of water in dog's face?
    It could be a problem, but once you start hitting the halligan there's a good chance you'll hear him barking.

    I think a blast from a can would just make him more mad. Maybe a 21/2.

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    Quote Originally Posted by len1582 View Post
    It could be a problem, but once you start hitting the halligan there's a good chance you'll hear him barking.

    I think a blast from a can would just make him more mad. Maybe a 21/2.
    I was skeptical too until I saw it work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by len1582 View Post
    It could be a problem, but once you start hitting the halligan there's a good chance you'll hear him barking.

    I think a blast from a can would just make him more mad. Maybe a 21/2.
    Some are trained not to bark. Of course fire conditions can make dog behavior unpredictable. Human behavior too.

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