Local firefighters gather for forceable entry training
Special to the Enterprise
Summer has been quite busy for the valley’s fire departments — responding to local calls, fighting wildland fires both locally and nationally and attending trainings.
Even with full schedules, the valley’s departments recently gathered together to train on strategies and tactics related to forcible entry in a program called Irons and Ladders.
The participating agencies included Greater Eagle Fire Protection District, Gypsum Fire Protection District, Eagle River Fire Protection District, Vail Fire and Emergency Services, Colorado River Fire and Rescue, Beaver Creek Public Safety and the Lafayette Fire Department.
The Irons and Ladders training hosted by the Greater Eagle Fire Protection District was held in August, and was split into two days due to the number of firefighters who registered. The training day started with a few hours of classroom instruction, and then progressed to practical training with manipulating locks and doors.
The Irons and Ladders Company is owned, operated and instructed by firefighters from Colorado Springs. The training focused on “forcible entry” which is a method used by firefighters to gain entry to buildings, open various types of doors and manipulate locks in order to gain quick access. The new innovative ways of using forcible entry tactics are replacing some of the traditional ways, so firefighters can be more efficient.
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Firefighters practiced opening doors faster by looking for weak points in hinges and mounting points, and by learning ways to prevent damage by picking locks and/or removing locks from the door itself. Firefighters also learned to utilize tools while applying mechanical advantage to open a door smoothly, as opposed to using brute strength.
Even though these methods are being used more frequently, there are times when industrial metal doors and security doors require the traditional methods of force. With some new knowledge and common training, firefighters in the valley are able to continue working together applying efficient strategies and tactics and to better serve the communities in the Eagle Valley.