Archive for July, 2010

Expect the Unexpected

Tim Ransom from Charlotte (NC) Engine 11 sent in this photo of another interesting door set-up. This business converted a standard roll-up door into a 36” outward swinging door. As you can see the original roll-up was left in place and concrete poured to fill the remaining opening making the new door flush with the building. This installation poses two potentially challenging situations: The first being the need to force the roll-up after forcing the outward swinging door. The limited exposed surface area of the roll-up leaves few options and will undoubtedly require some saw work. Not extremely difficult, but will require some time, and serves as another reason to always have the saw when operating in the rear of a commercial occupancy. The second issue could be conflicting reports from inside and outside crews. If a MAYDAY situation occurred, the crews on the inside might report that they are at (or near) a roll-up door on Side C, but the outside crew would only see the 36” outward swinging one. Hopefully, the outside crew would not waste much time and quickly discover the double door setup. As we have shown so many times in the past here on VES, when it comes to building construction and forcible entry, we always need to expect the unexpected.


Up Against a Fence
Engineer Brandon Roark from South Bend (IN) sent in these pictures of something they recently ran across at a local strip mall. The business was secured with a chain link fence and rolling gate, inside the store. The fence sat approximately two and a half feet inside the entrance. The fence covered the entire store (all four walls had a fence.) The rear door was also blocked by a fence, but it did not have a gate present. Now this fence would be nothing more than a slight inconvenience to anyone with a tool, but it could certainly catch you by surprise. Simply another reason not to drop your tools at the door.

Since the fence sat 2.5ft inside the front windows, it may initially go unnoticed if the store was charged with smoke. After the door is forced, and the push begins, it would become obvious. It goes to show you that in these tough economic times business owners may not be securing their occupancies in the more traditional fashions we are used to seeing (these methods may cost them money.) These “non-traditional” homebrew security devices will undoubtedly become a more common item we’ll run across. As with every forcible entry situation we are faced with: slow down! Identify and Visualize what you are trying to defeat… work smarter not harder.


And They Say Vertical Vent is Dangerous…

It’s funny to hear that many people think that vertical ventilation is SO dangerous, yet the some of the same people believe PPV is the answer to everything. This video proves that there are dangers associated with PPV as well. It is unfortunate to point out that the reporter seems to know more about the hazards of PPV than some of the people who actually use it. Don’t get us wrong, we are not bashing the use of PPV, we are questioning the “use it on everything” approach practiced by some departments. We are not implying that the department shown in this video did that, we a simply using the video as the training tool they intended it to be. They should be commended for sharing this valuable lesson. Besides, listen to what was said at 3:48 in the video, because of what they experienced, this department changed the way they will use PPV in the future. Sometimes it’s more important to know when not to do something, then to know how to do something.
Video from KUTV Channel 2


Identify the Weak Link
Jonathan Richardson from Spring Lake (NC) sent in these photos of a door found while crews were out doing aerial placement training. The door obviously has some homemade additional security, but it’s not nearly as formidable as it originally appears. When ever faced with a homemade additional security measures, simply take the time to identify how it is secured. It’s important to not only identify what is securing the door, but also to identify the weakest link. Yes, there are four chains with padlocks securing the gate, but in this particular case, there is a easier option. Look again, those hinges are barely held on. Sure a saw would defeat this without issue, but in this case, a set of irons would also do the trick. Simply attacking the right side hinges (since there are only two) would be the quickest option. Anyone who has trained (or better yet, practiced to perfection) with the irons would be able to pry those hinges off the building in no time.