Fire Instructor Development, Firefighting, Training

Forcible Entry: Defeating a Swing Arm Security Latch

Issue 3 and Volume 168.

By JIM ALLEN Fire departments across the country often face swing arm security latches on doors. This type of latch is very easy to overcome in a fire situation; it can be blown off the door by using conventional forcible entry techniques or with a hydraulic forcible entry tool. Normally, when using these techniques, the screws holding the latch into the door frame are pulled out, which damages the frame, or the latch snaps into pieces and is no longer usable. Many times, we are called on to assist at public service calls such as a lockout, a lock-in, lift assists, medical calls, and fire alarm activations with no visible sign of fire where there is no need to damage the door. On occasion, when someone calls the fire department, he may also report the location of a spare key or—depending on the door—we can use a shove knife to…

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