"Sounding/Shocking" versus "Gapping" - Firefighter Forcible Entry

"Sounding/Pre-Shocking" vs "Gapping" a door?

Some FFs and Instructors believe in "Sounding" or "Pre-Shocking" a locked INWARD opening door before you Gap, Set and Force the door. However many other FFs and Instructors (including myself) don't think it's necessary - WHY? - Consider the following facts:

1. You should always try the door (twice) before you try to force it - This step is universal regardless of your approach. The reason you should try "twice" is to get a true feel for the locks as well as the door itself (which may not even be locked, but just tight in the jamb).

2. Gapping the door instead of sounding/shocking actually saves time, reduces additional steps and does a better job of weakening the locks - By the time you hit the door (High - Middle - Low) you will have already gapped the door, put a hurt on the locks and made a better purchase point for completing the force.

3. If the door jamb has a nailed on stop, gapping the door will help to pull the stop off - This will expose the normal seam between the door and jamb - Which at minimum will provide another purchase point as well as help you to see what locks are engaged. Sounding or Pre-Shocking the door in many cases won't accomplish any of these.

4. Finally, remember we're FFs who are trying to get in to RESCUE occupants who may be lying unconscious right on the other side of the door - Not a Police tactical team trying to BLAST the door open to take the occupants DOWN. If we were, we would be using a battering ram to force inward opening doors without the fear of injuring anyone on the other side instead of using the IRONs which allow for more control when forcing the door.

In the end use the techniques you want, but don't make your decisions solely on experience working with forcible entry props and simulators, much less just watching YouTube videos - Base it on what works in the real world, on real doors and real locks.

Train, Stay Prepared, Be Aggressive, Make the Save - SURVIVE!
Dale G. Pekel

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