Shelby Township to buy forcible entry door simulator to train firefighters

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published July 27, 2020

 During the Board of Trustees July 21 meeting, the trustees approved the Shelby Township Fire Department’s request to purchase a forcible entry door simulator by East Coast Rescue Solutions.

During the Board of Trustees July 21 meeting, the trustees approved the Shelby Township Fire Department’s request to purchase a forcible entry door simulator by East Coast Rescue Solutions.

Photo provided by Shelby Township

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SHELBY TOWNSHIP — During the Board of Trustees meeting July 21, the board approved the Shelby Township Fire Department’s request to purchase a forcible entry door simulator from East Coast Rescue Solutions. The forcible entry door simulator will address the Fire Department’s training needs.

The cost of the simulator is $8,950. The lifespan of the equipment is more than 10 years with moderate to heavy use. Replacement parts are available to extend its lifespan.  

John McCoy, Shelby Township Fire Department assistant chief, said the device is similar to an actual door that would be locked during an emergency.

“The forcible entry door simulator is a device designed to match any doorway that we may encounter that requires us to gain access into. The simulator doorway can be set up to duplicate multiple types of doors, closures, regular key locks and deadbolts,” he said.

McCoy said that when firefighters must break down a door during a fire or a medical emergency, it can be costly if the door isn’t forced opened correctly. With training from a simulation, firefighters can learn how to correctly and quickly get a locked door open.

“Any residential door or commercial door entryway with no key or key fob access available on-site by fire personnel can have additional unwanted costs for repair or replacement of a damaged doorway. This training tool can not only help us do our job better, but also potentially reduce the doorway repair costs to the homeowner or business owner when damage does occur. When our crews are arriving to a fire alarm or medical call, we need to gain entry; we do not want to cause unneeded additional damage to anyone’s property, residential or commercial,” said McCoy.

He said that during emergencies, it’s quite common for people to get to their doors to let in firefighters.

“Some residents have had medical emergencies and they cannot get to a door or window to let us in, and we do consider other options to gain entry, such as a window, but there are times when we have had to take a door down. Many businesses have fire alarms activate and no one on-site after normal business hours. We may need to gain entry promptly; we may be not able to wait for a key holder, for example, if we have water flowing out the doorways around a building or smoke coming from a vent,” he said.

He said the department has protocols that dictate when its crews need to force open a door, and this tool will provide them opportunities to not only practice the procedure, but learn ways to cause minimal damage to the door or doorjamb.  

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