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Hey everyone, I came across this site while looking for reviews of some tools and realized that a lot of you have firefighter and construction experience that would be able to assist me with what I'm looking for.

I live in a multi-story condo complex in an earthquake area and my unit just has a single door heavy door. My big concern is that after the last good jolt, my neighbors door got jammed stuck pretty good, and being up pretty high, that's rather disconcerting.

I was wondering what y'all might suggest to be the most inexpensive but effective way of popping a stuck door open, especially from the inside, and probably dead bolted. Extra concern will be probably having to pop the outside security gate (not fire door) as well, and possibly bedroom doors with a real good shaker.

I used the search tool on here and found references to a lot of different tools for bug out bags and considerations of weight and what not, but I just want something I can keep in the condo to get out. I don't care about painting it, or weight, or tactical this or that, or how it'd look carrying it from point A to point B which I saw on a lot of threads. I just want to open up my own door from the inside for as cheap as possible.

Would a simple crowbar and a mallet be all I need? And if so what length? I'm not the strongest guy, and bonus points if my small wife can do it too!

https://www.thefirestore.com/store/product.aspx/productId/12134/Stanley-Tools-FatMax-Wrecking-Bar/

Stanley makes a bunch of things for "forcible entry" and demolition that look like it might be promising for this but I wouldn't know which is better than the other or which size. 18? 30? 15? and what kind of head and tail?

https://www.thefirestore.com/store/...anley-Tools-FatMax-FuBar-Forcible-Entry-Tool/

https://www.thefirestore.com/store/...136/Stanley-Tools-30-FatMax-Xtreme-FuBar-III/

https://www.thefirestore.com/store/...ley-Tools-15-FatMax-Xtreme-FuBar-Utility-Bar/

https://www.thefirestore.com/store/...anley-Tools-15-FatMax-Functional-Utility-Bar/

What about a mini-pro bar/halligan/truckmans tool?

https://www.thefirestore.com/store/product.aspx/productId/13100/Fire-Hooks-Unlimited-Mini-Pro-Bar/

https://www.thefirestore.com/store/...d/13087/Fire-Hooks-Unlimited-Truckman-s-Tool/

Amazon has the Vaughan Rage for 22 bucks with really decent reviews

https://www.amazon.com/Vaughan-050042-Global-Demolition-Hammer/dp/B078TLVMZM

or should I pair one of the tools above with something like this?
https://www.amazon.com/Off-Grid-Tools-232-Professional/dp/B0083R4J18/

or a traditional axe with a flat side to really bang a tool the into the door?

Don't get me wrong here -

I really don't want to go all ricky rescue or play Jack from the shining here. I just want to be able to get the door unstuck after an earthquake, but I've never tried opening a stuck door from the inside before!

Any help/insight is greatly appreciated! Especially if it's simply that the cheapo harbor freight hammer and bar will do the job just as well as anything else will, or if there's another tool/method that will work even better. I'm on the inside so I'm pretty much guessing swinging breachers are a no go due to physics, and too expensive anyways.

Thanks!
 

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I put eye bolts through my door reinforcer, so I can bungie cord the door open. that would be an attach point for a web strap if I had to force the door open

the only way I can see this happening would be if the door frame tweaked. this would cause full length binding up, flat door edge against flat frame edge, and that would result in considerable drag resisting attempts to open the door. ergo, I would go with a 30" bar with a flat spot on top, so you can hammer it deep into the not much gap, and lever it open. I would have other wedges available that could be hammered into the gap created by the bar, so you spread the flat spots apart and reduce the surface area creating that drag
 

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loosen screws for the hinges and it might just open normally, once it loosens and takes a new set simply tighten hinges again … I would do this first for any door before any cutting or smashing. With an electric drill, the process of loosening should take about 20 seconds.
 

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Commercial exterior door should open outwards so easy to force from the inside.

http://www.firehooksunlimited.net/entry.html

Firehooks is the FD standard for quality tools (other brands perhaps as good and bit less expensive. Or find some chicom crap).

Halligan (Probar) with a flathead axe or sledge varient - 8lb gets a lot more work done than a 6lb.

LOTS of youtube training videos on "how to force a door". Tools PLUS technique but opening a door away from you is easy task.
 

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loosen screws for the hinges and it might just open normally, once it loosens and takes a new set simply tighten hinges again … I would do this first for any door before any cutting or smashing. With an electric drill, the process of loosening should take about 20 seconds.
Hinge screws are not accessible on a closed door.
 

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Are you planning to give each person a set of tools to open a jammed door?

A long crow bar?
A battery powered Sawsall?
A chainsaw? Now I'm getting silly...
Explosives?

A rope ladder.

Elderly people cannot manipulate big tools, and a rope ladder would be dangerous for them. I don't have an answer.
 

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Over and Out
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If it's a Metal-door (with metal frame..) and it's Truly 'racked' / wedged, then I think your only option is gonna likely be 'sock it right in the kisser'.. ie:

Get a...
(..one with Serious torque..)
+
(..1" w/ 3/4" reduced-shank, to-fit..)

..and drill the 1" 'starter hole' in door's center, so you can stick in the blade from yer...


..and 'slit its belly', top to bottom, then kick / push out with a...
(..which you should have, anyway.. They're invaluable. :thumb:

..If it's So 'racked' that even with a full top > bottom slit it doesn't come un-stuck, then 'cross-cut', left > right, from that center-hole, and it should certainly yield, then.. Careful of heavy door-chunks and sharp-edges.. Some leather-gloves would be advisable..

.02
jd
 

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SI vis pacem,para bellum
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////////////

My first suggestion would be, an 8 LBS sledge hammer.
I think that would do it, depending on how bad the door was compressed.
I would suggest, take a picture of the door and post it. Also measure the thickness of the door, so you know what type of hole saw you need for step two.

If the sedge fails to open the door, take a drill with a hole saw suited for steel.
Make a hole near the top of the door, and use your sawzall, cut it straight down to the floor. Hit it with sledge that should work, if not cut left or right in a cross pattern. Towards the handle of the door first, hinge side last. I think this would get that door ought of the way. And the tools mentioned above can be a friend in good times and bad. You won't shelling out money on tools that are one hit wonders! The only other mention, would be a good pry bar.
 

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Texas chooses people.
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Exe fire/rescue, still a commercial builder.
Simple and cheap. 30" well made crow bar, and full size sledge hammer. Just keep them in a closet. Anything that we build for people to live in, these two items will tear them down.
 

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Wile E Coyote, Genius.
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If the door got jammed after a quake you've got bigger problems that need to be addressed. The building has some serious issues.
I guess the assumption was being trapped in a high floor of an apartment building with only 1 door.

If there is another escape route, then take that to a safe spot to plan your next moves. Going out a window onto a fire escape may be an option, but you would need to make sure it is still able to support your weight. Or else have your own fire escape device to reach the ground using your own gear.
 

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Don’t focus on the door to the exclusion of other options! Many walls, windows and even ceilings are options too!

Keeping a large pry bar, a sledgehammer and maybe a fire axe handy can’t be a bad idea.

If I was in an area I might have to break out of I might have several hardwood blocks for prying and propping up items needed and I might even keep a battery powered side grinder with several batteries and cutting wheels. Even without the power tools I’d likely have gloves, googles and ear plugs available.

If you want to know more go find a tear down you can play with.

SD
 

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Wile E Coyote, Genius.
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Don’t focus on the door to the exclusion of other options! Many walls, windows and even ceilings are options too!

Keeping a large pry bar, a sledgehammer and maybe a fire axe handy can’t be a bad idea.

If I was in an area I might have to break out of I might have several hardwood blocks for prying and propping up items needed and I might even keep a battery powered side grinder with several batteries and cutting wheels. Even without the power tools I’d likely have gloves, googles and ear plugs available.

If you want to know more go find a tear down you can play with.

SD
Angle grinders are the most dangerous home power tool there is. Unless the person knows all the safety procedures, I would not recommend one for opening doors. Having a grinding wheel embedded into your face or hand is not a good start to an evacuation.
 
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