One of the things that I really enjoy doing, and it is a guilty pleasure, is kicking down doors.
We occasionally get called to a 'trapped behind locked doors', which often means that a patient has fallen/collapsed/died behind a front door that they cannot open. In this case we are supposed to call the police and have them ram the door down with an 'Enforcer', which is a heavy ram – if you have seen the police knock down a door on the television, they tend to use an Enforcer.


There is a visceral pleasure with kicking down a door. Once or twice I've managed to see someone who is really ill trapped behind a locked door, occasionally there has been someone who has just been unable to open the door. And once, I have kicked down a door that the patient refused to open because they were schizophrenic and didn't want to open the door, not that I knew that at the time.

I've even been surprised at the ease in which I can kick down the doors of the flats that I live it. Actually it would be more accurate to say that I am scared with the ease in which the doors can be broken. Oh well, it's not as if I have a lot to steal anyway…

My experience of kicking down doors has taught me which security features are useful when trying to prevent someone from stealing your TV and video.

If you have a deadlock type bolt, then use it – always. The skill of kicking down a door relies on breaking either the lock, or the wood holding the lock – deadbolt type locks are a lot more secure than the normal Yale type lock.

If you are in the house, and have a bolt to the door, then use it. It takes a lot longer to kick down a door when there is a bolt in the way. The skill behind kicking down a door relies on applying the force of your kick to the (hopefully) single point of resistance. If there is a bolt at the top, or the bottom of the door it makes it a lot trickier to break that door.

Windows in the door are a bad idea – they are a weak point that can be easily broken, and then a skinny hand can reach through and unlock the door easily.

If you really want to be safe then have a bar across the door – I've seen it once or twice, and if someone had a bar across the door then there is no way I'd be able to break that door down.

Just make sure you don't collapse behind it.

7 thoughts on “Security”

  1. Excellent points. One thing that I would add, if you do have a door with a window, get a dead bolt that locks on both sides. This way they still can't open the door even if they break the window.Kathleen

  2. While ye be running rough shod over this poor innocent door, how many 999 calls were there ?I've heard of people that give the order of the boot. dungbeetle

  3. This brings to mind a pair of related notes / general rules; 1. no matter how paranoid it might make you, it's best to not do illegal drugs behind a locked door, (or at least don't bolt it, as above.) and 2. If you feel you're in a shady neighborhood, etc., go ahead and lock your car doors, but on the highway, leave them all unlocked. The door lock in cars merely disables the opener – it does not provide additional rigidity, security, etc., but it will markedly slow down any efforts to extricate you if you get smashed up.

  4. At the same time… if you're driving alone at night along roads where you are likely to keep stopping, it's probably advisable to keep them locked….

  5. I've heard that late-model Range Rovers have a feature that automatically disengages the fuel pump and unlocks all the doors in the event of anything that triggers the airbags. If this is true, does it actually make a difference in the event of a crash? Anything severe enough to create a fire danger (fuel pump) and/or require outside assistance to get out of the car seems likely to bend the door frames, rendering the locks pointless. If I'm wrong, and this is a highly useful safety feature, why is it only available on high-end luxury cars?

  6. In my fairly limited experience of RTA's (sorry RTCs) the door is unable to be opened in even fairly minor collisions. Basically if you aren't able to get out of your car I'm going to be boarding and collaring you because of 'mechanism of injury'. If the doors are able to be opened then it is likely that the crash wasn't that bad and your car won't burst into flames.So if it is a crash where the doors are jammed – I'll be calling out the water-squirters in order to cut you out of your wreckage. In this case locked doors won't mean a thing.

    Personally, driving around Newham, where it is not unknown for people to be dragged from their cars, I'd keep the doors locked. In lonely woodlike places, feel free to leave your doors unlocked for ease of exiting – no self respecting mugger looks for victims in desolate places.

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