Friday, Oct. 27th – The Fire Science students were hard at work Friday morning practicing their door-break and forcible entry techniques. Student Logan Maravelis walked me through the surprisingly simple process.

“We start by sounding the door; hitting the top, middle, then bottom. This tells us what kind of door it is and whether its hollow or not.”

Sounding allows firefighters to assess their situation by hitting the door with the halligan bar, listening for the characteristics of the door and any extra locking mechanisms. The halligan bar is an industry-standard tool used by firefighters and law enforcement to breach locked buildings and for various other purposes.

Then, they take the almost fork-like end of the halligan bar, and pry it between the door and the frame to create a gap. Their partner will usually use a flathead axe and drive the halligan bar further into the door. A quick change of footing, a big push on the halligan, and now you have an open door. In the case of a fire, the door is quickly pulled shut immediately after being knocked loose to constrict the oxygen flow as much as possible.