By FF Andrew Slicer, Connecticut
It is very common for responding crews to get locked out of multi-unit dwellings. To hedge against this, we carry spring clamps on all of our EMS bags for use as simple door chocks.
The spring clamp has some advantages over the traditional wedge, especially for an EMS run. The wedge is can be finicky and may cost you extra time to properly place it. It has to be set on the hinged side of the door close to the floor so it does not fall out. If you open the door, even just slightly, it may fall from position. With the spring clamp, you can clamp it to the door and move forward.
Chocking the door with a clamp can also help direct incoming firefighters. The spring clamp is more visible than the wedge and you may place three to four clamps before reaching an interior apartment in a multi-story, multi-family dwelling. The crew behind you can follow the path of clamps to your location.
This simple, lightweight, and inexpensive addition to your EMS bags can save precious time.
Andrew Slicer is a Firefighter/Paramedic in Connecticut with nearly 15 years experience in emergency services.
FD Hacks recommends reading Are Clamps the New Door Wedge by Raul A. Angulo for an in-depth analysis on the spring clamp versus the traditional door wedge. He dives deep into their advantages and applicability, and runs through multiple examples for their use.
Disclaimer: You must always consider your own personal safety and department policies and procedures.