Firefighter Training Drill: How Many Sets of Window Bars Do You Count?

Window bars

By Samuel Hittle

As a fire service, we do well identifying the locations, sizes, and number of available openings in a structure prior to initiating suppression efforts. Where we become inclined to fail is when we view the existence of a window opening synonymously with an adequate ingress/egress point.


Window Bar Training Prop


Consider the following: If confronted with window security bars, we naturally restructure our risk-benefit analysis, address the presence of high-density forcible entry, and, at the very least, ask for additional trucks. When metal windows are encountered, tactical and strategic shifts are rarely contemplated. Too often, these window types are viewed with the same regard any other window is given.

Ask yourself: Are metal frame windows and security bars really constructed that differently? The main distinction between the two is not in the composition of the material used, it is in how they are installed. More often than not, security bars are an aftermarket feature attached to the building, making them prone to easier removal. Metal window framing, on the other hand, is built into the structure, making it more challenging to eliminate. This drill asks some simple questions for discussion to help firefighters size up our window openings more realistically.

Download this drill HERE (PDF, 565 KB).

SAMUEL HITTLE is a captain with Wichita (KS) Fire. He has an associates in Fire Science, and is an instructor for Traditions Training LLC and Wichita HoT. He is an Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC) International lecturer and instructor; a contributing author for Fire Engineering, Urban Firefighter, and other fire service publications; and serves on the Interior Attack Technical Panel for UL. He is also a member of the FDIC Executive Advisory Board. More:


Maximizing Circular Saw Effectiveness in Forcible Entry Operations

Drill: When “Through-the-Lock” Fails, Part 1 | Part 2

Drill: “Grab the Green”



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