New equipment helps Valdosta firefighters tackle locked doors

| September 27, 2016

By Noelani Mathews | WCTV Eyewitness News

VALDOSTA – A locked door is meant to keep you safe, but in an emergency it could do the opposite by blocking those trying to help.

Valdosta firefighters say it happens more often than you think, and that’s why they prepare for that scenario.

A new training tool is giving them first hand experience for breaking through doors that are locked or jammed in a time of crisis.

“By being able to use this prop, it allows us to prepare for worst case scenario possibilities, so we can get better and more efficient at what we’re doing,” says Matthew Davis, VFD Training Officer.

Davis says the new tool mimics a metal door, such as one you would find on a commercial building.

“Forcible entry can be very difficult. It can be very easy depending on technique and experience,” says Davis.

He says those doors make it tougher for forcible entry, which makes the obstacle more realistic.

“It was a challenge, but it was also fun trying to knock that door down a little bit and break some wood,” says Terrial Small, a Valdosta Firefighter Recruit.

Small and 12 other recruits are learning how to get through a locked door as part of 15 weeks of non-stop training.

“It gives us all a peace of mind knowing that we’re out here doing something that is going to possibly help,” says Small.

He’s already feeling confident that with training, the halligan and axe will get him to the other side.

“We consider ourselves family and everyone in the community is our family, so these skills we’re learning out here are going to prepare us really well,” says Small.

They say the new tool also helps firefighters learn how to minimize damage while getting through a door.

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