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Children found padlocked in South Carolina Fire

http://www.firefighternation.com/forum/topics/children-discovered-padlocked This story comes to us from South Carolina. A fire broke out in a mobile home and the mother had padlocked the door while she took her husband to work (I am assuming for some sort of added security). While she was gone the house caught fire and thankfully due to some smart thinking by the children, they were able to break a window with a stool and exit the structure.

While this is appalling, there are lessons to be learned from the tactical side. It is reported that firefighters had to use bolt cutters in order to gain entry into the structure.

Bolt cutters are typically not the best way to get into pad locks now. Bolt cutters are usually only effective on cheaper locks. Most of today’s lock companies have gone to a case hardened shackle which regular bolt cutters are ineffective against (You have to have case hardened bolt cutters). Even the old trick of cutting the staple with bolt cutters, as a lot of companies have now switched to a case hardened staple. This is besides the point that the we rarely carry bolt cutters to the front door with us, so the efficiency, and speed of their use is greatly diminished. Some people have started using a duck-billed lock breaker for these type of locks, and while this works on some locks (mostly with a short or narrow shackle) it is like the bolt cutters where we rarely bring it with us off of the rig, so in order to use it we would have to go and find it.

The Irons (specifically the halligan) is still the fastest and most efficient way to get into these locks. We carry them with us everywhere, and they can be used for a variety fo techniques on these types  of locks. The pike end can either be used in a similar fashion as the duck-billed lock breaker (if it is a lock with a small shackle), or inserted in between the frame and hasp in order to defeat the securing screws that are placed in the structure. With a cheap lock and staple the fork ends can be placed over the shackle and rotated in order to tear the staple. Again this only works with a cheap non case hardened staple. Trying to do this with a case hardened staple will only make your job harder as it will form into a case hardened piece of twisted metal but will not clear the hasp. If none of these techniques work you can then use your irons to attack the hinge side fo the door and get in that way.

I know a lot of people like to use a saw on these locks as well, and I am all for that. However when is the saw getting there? Is the saw properly bladed? Is the saw properly maintained? Is the saw team trained in these techniques? Look saws are awesome but they are subject to mechanical, and user error. The irons never run our of gas because even if you get tired you can hand them off to a fresh person and they keep working. The saw is a good plan but much like with the hydra-ram if you can not use the irons you should not use a saw or hydra-ram, because if they do not work you have got to go back to the irons again.

There are a lot more techniques out there than the ones I have shared, get out there and practice some of them, as my man “Rude Boy” says “Don’t Let Your Fireground Slow You Down”. Feel free to share any of the techniques you’re using in the comments section, or shoot us an email, add in some pictures and we will put it on the blog! As usual we ask that you please spread the word about the blog! Stay Safe out there!

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