Hydraulics vs. Halligans: Choosing the Appropriate Forcible Entry Method

Issue 3 and Volume 160.

BY NICHOLAS A. MARTIN The improvement and increased availability of hydraulic forcible entry tools have greatly benefited the fire service. These tools can be used to exert a great amount of force and are quick and easy to operate. However, reliance on their capabilities has allowed proficiency in traditional forcible entry skills and techniques to deteriorate. Firefighters now tend to rely on these tools instead of conventional forcible entry methods that might be faster or more appropriate to the situation. Below is some guidance for determining the most appropriate forcible entry tools and techniques to use for various situations. Also discussed are the essential features of the halligan bar and the “irons,” along with some simple modifications that can improve these essential tools’ functionality. HYDRAULIC TOOLS Hydraulic forcible entry tools have become increasingly popular in the fire service. The original hydraulic forcible entry tools (or rabbet tools) were a two-piece…

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