The Mule Kick

Why do we do it? Does it weaken the forcible entry skills we learn?


I’m not necessarily singling this Chicago officer out.
His actions in a video from work this morning just leave me wondering:

Why do we still kick open doors? I can understand the flimsy hollow-core interior doors, but I’ve seen firefighters kick, and kick, and kick, and kick, exterior doors at private dwellings, apartment buildings and commercial structures. At times with tools in hand.

What is this doing to the forcible entry skills we learn? When we have a tool in hand, and we aren’t using it, do we lose that little bit of educational edge we may have had if we had used the tool?

Are you pissing away hard earned money when you go to the conferences and hands-on training, taking forcible entry classes, when kicking a door is your automatic response?

I’m just thinking out loud, not picking on the guy.

What do you think?



All comments must include your name or the name of your department. Either one, it makes no difference. If you don’t, well we can do nothing for you.





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13 Comments

  • Dave says:

    Haha!!! We had a guy in our dept who wound up breaking his ankle doin this…Workers comp for a few weeks then light duty at HQ…

    Lesson learned…don’t feel like spending any more time at HQ than I have to πŸ™‚

  • Chris says:

    Bill, I agree with you that there is a more effective way of performing Forcible Entry that allows us to control the door and reduce the risk of injury… but I don’t see mulekicking the door as the bog sin here. How about sticking your face into the smoke once you’ve opened the door with out a BA on? Sure, the mulekick may be a less efficient means of entry (however neither guy had a FE Tool right there) but going out of your way to breathe smoke is an awesome route to getting cancer. Just my $.02 thanks for keeping up the discussions.

    • Bill Carey says:

      You’re right Chris. I sometimes don’t mention the additional things just to see how far people will read or watch.

      Bill Carey

  • Marques says:

    Ok well Dave summed up what I wanted to say about mulekicking. What really disturbs me if you look again he had a halligan. The appearance gives off that a good baseball swing with the halligan would have probably done the job. The even bigger irony was that Officer just took the buy in power of training on FE away from the firefighte. Why not mulekick it or punch it right? Also he aided in making the use of the BA a top priority. As officers we often remember the example we are setting.

  • Jack Wilson says:

    Check out the new IFSTA Truck Company Manual in Forcible Entry in shows a section on the Mule Kick….I believe we are taught many ways of FE and use the method that is the most effetive…I am not sure, even tough have done it, the Mule Kick is the most effective?

  • John Odom says:

    I have seen doors kicked or otherwise forced that weren’t even locked!

  • “You don’t know what you don’t know”. We force doors in a professional manner because we don’t know (though we might think we know) what, OR WHO, is on the other side. Firefighters usually pull out the Mule Kick because they either aren’t carrying a tool or don’t know how to use the one’s they have. Both of these are more a reflection of the professionalism and proficiency of the individual NOT the efficiency of the Mule Kick.

    Unfortunately, I’ve seen guys who couldn’t force a door if they drove the Truck through it. However, I’ve also seen a door forced with ONLY a roof hook (aka NY Roof Hook, Halligan Hook).

    Training, training, training. Thanks and Be SAFE

  • Justin Reynolds says:

    We have all forgotten to mention the MOST important reason NOT to mule kick a door… CONTROL! “Did you check that door for heat Tim?” Its kind of a joke, right?! Well I hate to second guess, but what if?!

  • Andy says:

    My biggest concern is why do we force that door. We should expect victims on the other side everytime. Can we safely and effectively perform that rescue without the use of our BA’s? Not everytime. 3:39 a firefighter is just kneeling down exhausted from choking all that smoke for no reason. Use your tools to keep you and your crew safe. As far as the mulekick in this video, I dont mind it on that door, but control the door with a bodyloop around the doorknob so you dont crack a potential victims skull. Train hard and stay safe.

  • Brendan says:

    Chris- look again. He had a halligan in his hand.

  • Chris Sterricker says:

    The mule-kick is a dangerous technique to us physically and I think all would agree not the optimum FE method. That being said I have done it a few times in certain situations. Those situations being, 1) I already knew the construction features of the door I was going up against from previous runs, 2) There was no set of irons immediately available. Now, before everybody jumps me for not having a tool, I was the nozzleman in the situations I have done it so the nozzle was my tool and a truck or squad was not immediately available due to multiple FE operations or not on the scene. I don’t think it is our first choice and definitely not something we should rely on simply because it worked the last time.
    Just another observation in this particular instance, what about taking the window right next to every door and going in that way and unlocking the door from the inside? The sill doesn’t look too high and you could probably get a bit of a foot hold on the A/C unit to give you a boost, or the halligan in his hand. Just a thought.

    P.S. Bill, screw it. Let ’em come at me.

  • Mark Cummins says:

    I sure hate to see our brothers breathing that cancer causing smoke. I used to do that too, I never thought about cancer, now I wonder which breath gave it to me.  Dam! cancer hurts.  Wear the AIR. It takes years for the cancer to be detected, and it does finally show up, you feel pretty stupid.  Your family thinks so too.
    Be safe my brothers.

  • Carl Burney says:

    I have a small portapower tool that I use in my construction business. If I had my way there would be one on the fire engine to use for opening doors. Practically every method of forced entry involves damaging the door and/or the frame. Using my portable ram I can open almost any residential home or apartment in less than a minute by spreading the door jambs just far enough that the lock bolt disengages from the strike plate and doing little if any damage to the door or frame. 

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