This video depicts a problem plaguing my department. I am not against the hydra-ram, in fact quite the contrary. I think it is a great tool in the right situation, and when I was assigned to a truck company I took it every time we had a call to an apartment building, or hotel because the chance to force multiple doors presented themselves and after forcing a few doors with the irons even the most in shape forcible entry team is going to get tired.
However there is a time and place for everything, and residential doors are not the time and place for the hydra-ram or hydraulic forcible entry tools period.
Where we run into problems is that we have these tools on every rig in the department and it becomes a laziness issue, and our commercial forcible entry simulator favors using the hydra-ram because it is metal on metal. So when guys go do their forcible entry training and the hydra-ram works every time, and they never pick up the irons, it is no wonder why this tool is used way to much and applied improperly. I have personally seen what happened in the below video happen several times, and companies fail to get into doors.
It is ok to use the hydra-ram when it applies (inward opening doors with metal frames) but it should not be the only thing you bring. If the tool fails you have got to have the irons available to finish the job. If you’re the forcible entry guy on your crew and you come off the rig with out the irons your wrong plain and simple YOU ARE WRONG. Sure you can add other stuff to your compliment (hydra-ram, K-Tool, vice grips w/chain) but the irons are non negotiable!
One suggestion is to split the Irons with your partner. On the truck I was assigned to we only rode with 3 (Driver, Officer, and Firefighter) so in order to ensure we got all of the tools we would need into an occupancy the officer carried a flat head axe, and 6 foot NY Roof Hook, and the firefighter carried the halligan and a 6 foot NY Roof Hook. This allowed for the interior team to perform forcible entry to gain entry into the occupancy, and on the interior if needed, and open up the walls,ceilings, and windows. Additionally it promoted great team work and accountability as the irons typically (although there are single firefighter techniques for them) function better as a team with 2 members.
Be sure to keep following along on twitter @averagejakeff
As usual thanks for reading, spread the word, and STAY SAFE!