There’s a couple of things that you need to do before forcing a door, according to the New York City Fire Department’s Eric Geiger. This video of Geiger, courtesy of Flashover TV and FireRescue1, is short and can be summed up in three bullet points:
- Check the door for heat, which can tell you if there’s fire or combustible gases on the other side.
- Try the knob first, which can save you time.
- Figure out whether the door is inward-opening or outward-opening, which can give you important clues about what’s behind the door and how to attack it.
Watch this video now.
Flashover TV, “Forcible Entry- Size Up“
Do the storefronts in your fire district have roll-down gates? They do in New York City, too, so the New York City Fire Department has had plenty of practice forcing them.
FDNY Lt. Mike Ciampo demonstrates several ways to force roll-down gate locks with a power saw in this Fire Engineering video. (You may remember Ciampo from another video that we posted on carrying saws safely up ladders) If you prefer to use halligans, he also demonstrates how to pry locks off gate channel rails. Watch this video now.
Fire Engineering, Rolldown Gates
We think that the Ductile Iron Ring Saw Safety Blade is better at cutting buried ductile iron pipe than ICS’s PowerGrit chainsaw chain. After all, it cuts faster, lasts longer, and is more versatile. However, that leaves us with a problem: how do we show you that?
So we asked our resident graphic artists to come up with an infographic – our very first! – showing exactly how the Ductile Iron Ring Saw Safety Blade beats the PowerGrit chain. You can either click on the picture below to see a JPEG of it or download a PDF version with links to all of our sources.
We’re not saying that you shouldn’t force doors during fires (and that you shouldn’t use our diamond blades and saws to do it). We’re just saying that, when you do force a door, you should control it. After all, leaving a forced door open can feed oxygen to the fire and combustible gases inside a structure, leading to flashover and a bigger, deadlier fire.
Fire Service Warrior has a video that effectively illustrates this point. We’re not sure where they got it or whether it was taken during a training exercise or a live fire, not that it really matters. What’s important is that these firefighters didn’t control their door after forcing it and nearly got their tails burned off for it.
Michael Carroll left a good comment on this video:
I assume that the door was forced just before the video started. Once that door was open you could see smoke conditions change rapidly. The black high velocity rolling smoke coming out the door was a sign that the fire was about to flash in that area and they should have gotten off that deck. Every firefighter should learn to read smoke. SOME DAY IT COULD SAVE YOUR LIFE!