There are three parts to the GAP-SET-FORCE technique: Initial gapping of the door to increase the distance of the gap between the door and the frame, adjustment of the angle of the tool to travel past the door-stop and get a solid purchase on the door, and finally applying force to the door to pry it out or push it in.
IFSTA and some authorities advise initially placing the tool either “directly above or directly below the lock”. And in the instances of multiple locks, they advise placement between the locks.
That is good advice on most doors….especially foam-infused, hollow-core metal residential and light-commercial doors. However, on metal-clad solid wood doors or gypsum-filled hollow-core doors, using that placement may require more work than is necessary on your part for setting the tool. These, and other types of heavy-duty doors, flex very little and can be resistant to your efforts at setting the tool.
One idea for these heavier doors is to start well above the top lock or well below the bottom lock. Starting in “undefended territory” is a good way to more easily flex the door outward or inward (depending on the door-swing). Once an initial tool-set is accomplished, if the leverage offered by the tool at the purchase-point is not enough to force the door, have your partner wedge the door with the axe, and slide your halligan closer to the nearest lock, and begin again. This can be done several times if necessary….forcing one lock at a time if need be.
1- GAP – SET – FORCE REVIEW
2 – LIGHT DOORS
Again, on lighter doors….place the halligan just above or just below the lock. In the case of multiple locks, go between the locks. There is a lot of “give” to these doors and it’s possible to force a door of this type by breaking both locks at once, or bending the door enough to clear the locks from the frame in one attempt.
3 – HEAVY DOORS
On this already-heavy, gypsum-filled door….someone has taken the time to weld a ¼” steel reinforcement
plate and lock-collars on, creating a door with very little “flex”. Starting between these two locks would be a
more difficult operation than is necessary.
Start well-above or well-below the locks. This will buy you the most flex on the door, and you’ll be off of the
reinforcement plate. If necessary, have your partner hold the purchase by wedging it with the axe, then move your halligan closer to the lock and try again. Remember…the steel plate doesn’t make the locks
stronger, it only makes the door flex less!