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  1. #1
    Senior Member Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    Default "Sensitive" Residential Forcible Entry

    From time to time, we have automatic fire alarms. Long response and/or no available key holder, and no one answering the door.

    Especially in this age of CO alarms (hmmm, colorless, odorless gas that can leave people incapacitated...) not something I'm comfortable with just looking in the windows and saying, "Nope, don't see nuttin'"

    Usually we look for an open door, sometimes even throw a ladder to an open 2nd floor window. Search under rocks & rugs for keys. But sometimes you have these homes that are locked up like Fort Knox (well, not really -- you don't see security bars and such in my town). The one alarm I can remember truly forcing was a no-brainer since there was light smoke showing (oil burner malfunction). One repeat offender of a semi-abandoned commercial building in town we learned which door to jiggle in a certain way to get in each time.

    Was reading the Fire Engineering Sept '04 article on drilling the lock today, got me thinking of what other fairly "sensitive" techniques there are to breaking into a house. I don't want to pop a door frame just to check an alarm -- so how to do we pull/drill/whatever residential locksets? Any other good tips & tricks out there for minimal damage forcible entry on residences?
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  2. #2
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    Where I used to work we would occasionally use the Door Bar (that yellow bar that many would use to hang a box fan in the door in days of yore)

    It would spread the jamb of a wood frame door enough that the short throw of the cheap deadbolds and knob and key sets would easily be exceeded and the door would swing open on its own.

    Many people were really surprised how easy it was for us to enter their house.

    FTM-PTB

  3. #3
    Forum Member Dave1105's Avatar
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    Most houses out here have tilled roofs so if it's a domestic monitored alarm we're responding too with no obvious signs of smoke or fire, we'll pop a few tiles on the roof and head on in through the manhole.... If we do have concern for fire, find a door with a window next to it, break it and reach around and open the door. If it does turn out to be nothing your homeowner is looking at $50 or $60 for the window and get usually get it replaced the same day.... They aren't having to replace entire doorframes....

    If it's an alarmed premesis connected to an ASE, then it's a different ball game. All Alarmed premesis in our area are approached to provide us with keys and are informed that on receipt of an alarm, we will force entry if keys are not provided.... So that's exactly what we do, and out of principle we're usually not that nice about it.... (One of our stubborn premesis have had to replace mahogony doors recently..... Whoops )

  4. #4
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    We have been lucky enough to be able to finesse most doors with "spackle" blades. Have a multitude of summer rental properties that are not very concerned about tight security so their locks are fairly simple to open. Surprisingly, in my area, the larger more expensive the house, the easier to "get in".
    "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?

  5. #5
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    I am a big advocate of using force when force is necessary but these days using the " throught the lock" method of entry is the way to go. Not only is it more professional, but the buisness or homeowner appreciate having to deal with little or no damage to their property, especially on AFS's. My tool of choice is the "A" or "O" tool. The "A" tool goes one step beyond the old k tool in it's ability to pull flush mount lock cylinders. Its quick, neat and the owner has only to purchase a new lock cylinder in most cases. Drilling the cylinder is also highly effective, if time is not an issue. Even at that, the cylinder can be drilled and opened in about three minutes. Lastly if you ever encounter locked comercial doors with the drop bar hasp, instead of breaking the expensive glass panes, use a vice grip to rotate the lock cylinder to the left. The weak set pins will snap allowing the cylinder to be screwed out. A simple key tool can then be use to manipulate the lock. When your done simply screw the cylinder back into place.! VOILA! Stay safe..
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  6. #6
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    For alarms, I have never been on a call where we forced entry. Usually, if we can't see anything in the windows, we will wait for dispatch to call a keyholder or other point of contact (alarm companies usually have these) or use keys given to the department. We did have a call one time where an second floor apartment was flooding the apartment below it from a ruptured pipe. We climbed to the balcony and used a halligan bar to lift the sliding door (the cheap ones that are so popular with cheap apartment construction) and just push it open. No damage (from us, anyway, plenty of water damage, though). This won't work if the occupant puts a stick in the door track (as I have started since I saw how easy it was to open that door).

  7. #7
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    Here is another vote for the fan hanger. It works for us most of time. We have also had some luck fishing for the garage door release and then opening the door, Many people don't lock the man door to the house.
    Through the lock has also worked but be careful of insulated doors, the face will damage long before the door's lock goes.

  8. #8
    MembersZone Subscriber E229Lt's Avatar
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    Was reading the Fire Engineering Sept '04 article on drilling the lock today
    I missed making the cover by 2 feet. I digress...

    Drilling the lock is a excelent way of gaining entry without major damage. Once finished the door can be relocked and a wooden peg driven into the hole. Not HIGH security but it will provide some if the PD does not sit on a residence after we leave.

  9. #9
    Forum Member stm4710's Avatar
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    One way I was tought was to goto a first floor window and try opening the window,if that is locked open window with a flat head axe. Lay the axe horizontal under the bottom of the window and take a halligan to tap it in a little. Once the axe is wedged in, push up on the axe handle parrel to the wall.
    People mayhave 6 20" dead bolts with titainum forcefields and a pot of boiling oil around the front door,but will have two 5/8's wood screws holding in the window lock.


    Finesse is sometimes better than force.
    Last edited by stm4710; 09-25-2004 at 11:40 AM.
    I dont suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.

  10. #10
    MembersZone Subscriber E229Lt's Avatar
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    All good stm, but the second floor window is a better choice due to security concerns.

  11. #11
    MembersZone Subscriber jsdobson's Avatar
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    We climbed to the balcony and used a halligan bar to lift the sliding door (the cheap ones that are so popular with cheap apartment construction) and just push it open. No damage (from us, anyway, plenty of water damage, though). This won't work if the occupant puts a stick in the door track (as I have started since I saw how easy it was to open that door).
    If the glass slider has a wood frame, look at the base and top of the stationary pane of glass for a bracket. Remove the four screws and you can then remove the stationary pane to gain entry.
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