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Derry firefighters’ latest training is a show of force

Union Leader Correspondent

February 27. 2014 8:19PM

Firefighter/Paramedic Steve Auger attempts to breach a door with a sledge hammer during forcible entry training this week. The purpose of the drill was to demonstrate that it is difficult to try to beat a door open, and that correct technique with the “irons” is faster, easier and safer, said Battalion Chief Jack Webb. (Courtesy)

DERRY — For Derry firefighters, being able to gain access to a locked residence during an emergency can sometimes mean the difference between life and death for the occupants.

To hone their skills, members of the Derry Fire Department conducted forcible entry training this week, Battalion Chief Jack Webb said in a news release. The training was coordinated by Derry firefighter and New Hampshire Fire Academy Instructor Steve Hussey.

Forcible entry involves using tools to break locks and door hardware. It also sometimes involves breaching walls to gain access, Webb said.

During the training, firefighters used a lightweight wood and steel residential door prop. The door prop was built for the fire department by a welding class at Pinkerton Academy. Firefighters also used a second prop, a heavy steel door that was designed by New York Fire Department firefighter Michael Perrone, Webb said.

“These props provide very realistic and reusable training that focuses on correct techniques and correct applications of large amounts of force,” Webb said.

Along with the practical training, firefighters reviewed videos, and attended small group discussions and a brief lecture on forcible entry.Some of the hand tools used in forcible entry include a TnT sledgehammer and a device called “the irons,” which consist of a Halligan tool and flat-head ax. They also used a device known as a “rabbit tool,” or hand-held hydraulic door spreader, to force open locked doors, Webb said.

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