Look what’s behind those doors….

Hoarder Fires

Photo Courtesy of Kevin Smith http://sdfirephotos.com/Site/Welcome.html

Behind those doors could be a Hoard!


Good afternoon from the jumpseat.  Until our sister site is back up and running I want to continue writing about a dangerous condition that are coming up more and more.  Hoarder house fires have been fought on a level never seen before. This is a growing problem that we must train on.  So let’s look at another issue that you will face inside a hoarded home. 

Forcing a Door to a Hoard. 

Having noticed the increased videos of firefighters taking their foot and kicking in exterior doors is having a troubling effect on me.  When I see a firefighter in full gear trying to kick the door in I immediately wonder if they have received the proper training on how to force a door and if they ever stopped to think that there might be something blocking it?  

Maybe they haven’t stopped to think that the person living there is a Hoarder.  Often in hoarding conditions the front door can no longer be used for entry into the house.  Often when the collecting of things begin it will start in the attic space and quickly move into the common spaces such as family rooms.  They start this way to allow the bedroom be clearenough to continue sleeping in. 

How do you know

Using proper size up skill will allow you to identify the potential for a hoarded environment.   Your 380 Degree sizeup will help but another key reason will be the inability to force the door after separating the door from the jam.  Duh! you say!  But think about it, the last few inches of forcing open a door with a haligan and ax usually is the hardest but if you are doing the skill properly you will feel the give, see the gap, and know that you need to try another means.  You will not have this chance if you are cowboying up with your size 12 haligans flaring

Sounds Simple right?

I know that a blog about the need to use our tools seems simple enough, but why does it continually happen?  I believe that firefighter show up to the front door not ready for work.  Empty hands should not belong on anyone’s fire scene.  A set of irons or prying tools should always be available at the front door even if the door is just feet away from your engine.   Next time you force a door, keep in mind that you may be forcing your way into a tangled mess of belongings.  You never know that Behind that door may be a HOARD.

Bunker up, Buckle in, it’s where we all begin!

Photo Courtesy of Kevin Smith,  Check out his Photography at Sdfirephotos.com