The Sweet Spot
Conventional forcible entry for inward opening doors requires firefighters to apply specific techniques using standard tools ( 8lb. axe & Halligan) to compromise the weak link associated with an entry/egress point. The weak link may vary based on construction features of the door & door frame, as well as the number and types of locks affixed to the door. Once the weak link has been identified, firefighters must utilize standard techniques to apply the requisite amount of force and leverage required to gain entry. Much of the force required to initially set the tool prior to forcing the door is generated by the member striking the Halligan. On well-fortified doors, especially those of solid wood construction, a significant amount of force will be needed to adequately set the Halligan securely between the door & the frame. Using the proper striking tool in the form of an 8lb. "Force Axe" is paramount. Of equal importance, in order to be effective & efficient, is where you strike the Halligan. In order to maximize each hit the striking member must squarely strike the "sweet spot" with each blow delivered. The "sweet spot" on the Halligan is the small square section at the base of the adz. By striking that squarely with each hit you deliver force directly down the shaft of the tool to the forks which allows for a more effective & efficient means of setting the tool. Striking the Halligan out on the adz causes much of your force to be dissipated off the end of the tool requiring you to deliver more blows to set the forks to depth. In order to hit the sweet spot each & every time slow down & shorten your swing. Align the tools so the axe is perpendicular to the Halligan as seen in the photo. Conventional forcible entry is a methodical process relying on sound technique rather than brute force. So take your time, work smarter not harder, and always swing for the sweet spot.
Until next time...be safe