Section III-8

Forcible Entry

Purpose:  To establish tactical and strategic guidelines to be executed during emergency situations when access into a specific area is immediately required.

Scope:   Guidelines pertain to all Three Star Fire Department personnel during emergency operations that require access. 

Policy:

Three Star Fire Department personnel should thoroughly “size-up” and evaluate any situation potentially requiring forcible entry prior to selecting the most appropriate method of entry.  Among the deciding factors are:  urgency of entry, type of door and lock assemblies, the tools and manpower available, and the extent of damage entry will create.  The need for speed should be the overriding concern, whether to save life or cut off rapidly extending fire.  In certain cases, however, the type of doors or lock assembly will be the deciding factor.  Certain types of doors or locks are best opened using specific methods.  In some cases, there is only one way to get past that specific door.  In almost all cases, the degree of damage caused by forcible entry should be consistent with the danger and damage from the hazard, usually fire.  Time should not be wasted, however, where life is at risk or where a structure may be heavily involved with fire.  Law enforcement shall be requested prior to forcible entry.

Four basic rules to forcible entry

1.      Try before you pry.  It is inexcusable to force entry through a door that is unlocked.

2.      Don't ignore the obvious.  Look for the easiest way to enter a premise.  Entry should be made via the area of least resistance.

3.      If possible, use the doors that the occupants normally use to enter or exit the premises.  Not only does that put you into the likely exit paths of the occupants so you can begin your search, but it will also make your assignments easier.

4.      Maintain the integrity of the door.  By breaking doors or smashing glass, personnel become at a disadvantage in controlling the oxygen supply to the interior of the premise.

Entry should be considered in the earliest stages of the size-up process, which commences upon the initial alarm.  Use appropriate tools for the job at hand (i.e. Halligan bar, hydraulic tools, hand tools).  Law enforcement shall be requested prior to forcible entry.