1. #1
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    Default forcible entry tools.

    Meaningful debate wanted? How about "What does your dept use and what tool(s) do you prefer for forcible entry". I'm sure the various proponents of Halligans, Kellys, sledgehammers and ax's all have something to say! Me? I prefer the halligan (sometimes refered to as a "hooligan tool" in my part of the world.

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    I agree, the "hooligan" is my second tool of choice. My brain would be my first. As silly as this may be, I was recently at an incident were a crewmember was holding a "hooligan" and a crusty ol' captain proceeded to take a door with foot.

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    either a set of irons, or our new partner saw!

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    ALthough, the best forcible enery tool is the hand, because sometimes all you have to is turn the door knob!

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    The irons are my pick-most versatile in my mind at least.

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    Kvfcjr (or anybody else), just a clarification re "irons" for an Australian, does this mean the halligan tool and sledge-ax combo???

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    the irons are a halligan tool and a flat head axe-sometimes they are held together or "married" by a strap.

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    What about Knox Box systems? My town very recently enacted a knox box ordinance with no grandfather clause. Sounds great, but we have multiple apartment complexes that are quite large (over 150 units) and the location of some of the boxes are very obscure. We make every attempt to keep our listing current showing the locations, however, our SOP is that if there is smoke showing, we go for the tools. Anybody out there with this similiar problem with knox boxes?

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    Thanks truckie226, we do it similar then, except we have a sledge-ax with the halligan, and don't actually have a name for the two in combination, but "irons" sure is easier to say than "halligan and sledge-ax"

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    hey frosty-you guys should have worked into that ordinance somewhere that the fire department had to approve the location.

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    Well....we made every attempt to have the ordinance state specific locations, but...........board members thought differently. The arguement made by local businesses was that the boxes are "unsightly" and pose a security issue. We made every attempt to counter this, but to no avail. We have recently obtained an abandoned hospital and training is nothing but forcible entry. K-tool, irons, saws, sledges, etc are all being put to the test on many different types of doors. We also "tested" access to the abandoned knox box and to date we have not opened it. We hope to show this "evidence" to local businesses so that they will work with us on mounting locations.

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    Smile Coupleathings...........

    I polled the crew, and here's the list:...
    Fudge..... Irons
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    I certainly don't want to seem like an idiot, but curiosity is killing me.... I've never heard of a 'knox box'. What is it? Storage place for keys to high rise buildings ? In Canada, we call that 'drunken superintendant'.
    -- 'I learn something new every day, unfortunately most of it comes from reading beer coasters...'

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    Originally posted by Frosty42
    Well....we made every attempt to have the ordinance state specific locations, but...........board members thought differently. The arguement made by local businesses was that the boxes are "unsightly" and pose a security issue. We made every attempt to counter this, but to no avail.
    Our answer to this feedback is how "unsightly" it will be and how unsecure the building will be when we end up taking a door because of a delayed key holder.

    To answer your question AnIndustrialFF, a Knox Box is a small security box that holds the keys to the building it's attached to. The key to the box is registered to the fire agency and only that agency will have that key. In our case, each front line vehicle and chief carry one of these keys.

    For more infomation on it here's the link to their web site:
    http://www.knoxbox.com

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    We always dismount with a set of irons, but the most important rule for forcible entry is "try before you pry." But I guess in my area it's safe enough that a lot of people leave everything unlocked, so FE's not a big issue.

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    So far this year, we have had about 14 calls for broken water pipes in residences with no one home. 12 of them we made entry using a 4" putty knife. No damage, got pretty quick at it after the first 4. However, when fire involved, irons for most doors. We are also trying out a RabbitTool on metal doors.
    "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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    Default Tools

    Well for a no damage entry a shove knife works great.
    But for forcing one the Irons, or we have a hand hydrallic jack
    but it does get in the way it it jams in the locked position.
    But if makes short work of a Steel frame/steel door. Or I know of a
    dept. that uses one of the Halmotoro battery power spreaders.
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    Typically use the irons, or on metal frame doors or a lot of doors the rabbit tool. for more difficult doors, the circular saw or even you can use your extrication tool if it is portable.

    I like to call the irons the keys to the city because you can pretty much get into anyplace u want to go with them.

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    Down here, they tend to pair the Hooligan up with a 12 pound sledge - they figure that brute force will overcome lack of technique I'm trying to educate them that it's really called a Halligan and that it was designed to be used in conjunction with a flat head axe - but it's an uphill battle. Sometimes I feel that I go firefighting with the firefighting equivalent of stone-age man, rather than firefighters who are craftspeople.

    We don't have a sledge/axe combination though like Pumper41
    Busy polishing the stacked tips on the deckgun of I.A.C.O.J. Engine#1

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    Our dept is working on having a city ordinance passed that is designed to make all businesses current and prospective to install knox box systems. The biggest question of everyone involved in this process is who will carry the key(s) to open the knoxbox system. The liability in this situation is high. We have decided to proceed with the system that allows the knoxbox key to be installed in a box on the first due engine. Upon arrival we need instant access a chief or chief designated officer such as deputy chief or lt can call central dispatch. Central can send a tone over our radio freq that unlocks the box in the truck giving us access to the key to unlock the lock box. This takes a minute more but eliminates any questions about when the key is used. There will be a record on the E-911 tapes.

    As for what we do now. We take pride in trying to help the person in "trouble" (business or residential) keep the building looking good. The entry teams are required to take the set of "irons" in with them as well as rit and other teams. If the door has a cylindrical lock we use the k-tool to take the lock and enter the door in that manner. We are now involved in a customer service industry, always try to minimize damage.
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    stillPSFb/all, the advantage of the sledge-axe tool, I suppose is that you kind of get 2 tools in one, although it works fine as a sledgehammer, the axe side is not as good as a flat head axe. It's major use in conjunction with the halligan is to tap the halligan's blade in between the door and the jamb. We do carry a flat head axe as well on the engines at both my career and vollie departments.

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    Knox boxes are not used in Australia. What my career dept does is hold all keys to fire alarmed premises (about 100 in my station area) in a heavy locked safe at the station, to which there is only one set of keys which are kept by the on shift officer. When a call comes through to us on a Computor VDU and teleprinter for one of these premises, the keybag # is displayed. The keys are then removed from the safe, which is relocked and then we turn out. The keys are actually kept in the safe in little cloth bags which have a lead seal. If keys are taken from the safe and the bag seal broken, ie used then these details are noted in a station occurance book on our return. Naturally they then need to be resealed and locked away again. The system works fine except when we get called on from one call to another without returning to the station, when obviously we will not have keys. Hopefully the second due station will have them, if not, if we have reasonable grounds to suspect an actual fire we force entry, if we suspect a false alarm we return tio the station for keys.

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    Regarding the Knox system, there is a mount availible to lock the key in the vehicles. However, it's about $700 per vehicle. It secures the key and will only unlock when the dispatcher transmits a group of scrambled tones.

    We use a much less sophisticated method. We have small real estate type lock box secured in each front line vehcile. The combination is set by the chief and secured in a sealed box in dispatch. Upon the need of a knox key, the dispatch breaks the seal and documents all activity regarding the key. After a key is used the combinations get changed and the combination resealed.

    At shift change the dispatcher is responsible to assure that the seal containing the combination is not tampered with and documented.

    The reason for all the documentation is leave an audit trail regarding key activity.

    This system we use isn't as fool proof as the Knox vehicle system but at $700 a pop it would cost us $14000 to outfit all our front lines.
    Last edited by SFDchief; 03-15-2003 at 07:23 AM.

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    First it is called a MAUL

    You can wrap the handle, shorten it, or whatever but it is still just a splitting maul, BTW Good Tool


    Next don't rely on the KNOX to solve all of your entry problems, buildings change occupants, fire employees and/or just change locks for no good reason.

    A good tool set up is a must, remember what type of building you are going into. Your not going to use an axe in brick factory, nothing to chop.

  25. #25
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    i myself like a halligan tool but lately i've been using a new tool that i designed. it's been working great at the last two structure fires we've had along with the live burn training. it has a pry bar and a hammer on one end and a piercing point on the other. hard to explain. i need to get a patent on it quickly because several nearby departments are wanting some made for them. i'll post a pic as soon as possible.
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