Nowadays firefighters tend to become over reliant on saws during forcible entry operations and often forget some of the most basic of fireground tools. The Duckbill Lock Breaker is one such a tool that has become a forgotten tool that tends to sit in a compartment on the truck. But what about the times when, the saw does not start? Or you have to change the blade? Or you have to remove locks inside of a building where the saw will be choked out by the smoke? The duckbill is a tremendous secondary tool for these situations.
The Duckbill Lock Breaker works by driving the lock shackle off the body of the lock. The lock breaker will remove an American 700 Series Lock with no problem, in fact there are very few locks that can not be defeated by the lock breaker. One lock the can withstand the forces that can be applied with the lock breaker is the disc type lock. If a disc type lock is present a different forcible entry method should be utilized.
The duckbill is made of soft metal, usually brass. The reason for making it out of soft metal is so that as it is driven down in between the padlock body and the shackle the lock will "bite" into the soft metal of the wedge and hold it's position until it is struck again. Every time the lock breaker is struck it is driven down a little further into the lock, this places more and more pressure on the lock until it finally fails. If the wedge was made out of a hardened metal it would simply bounce out every time it was struck.
To use the Duckbill Lock Breaker, simply place the wedge into the lock. This is where mistakes get made! The only way the duckbill will work is with the top edge of the wedge on the shackle and the bottom edge of the duckbill on the body of the lock, do not put the duckbill into the lock with the top and bottom rails on both side of the shackle! Once the lock breaker is in place use the 8 lbs forcible entry axe or a 12 lbs Maul to drive the duckbill into the lock, continue driving it in until the lock fails. It is that simple!
So dust off the duckbill lock breaker, dig it out from the compartment, or buy one to include to your forcible entry arsenal. It is a great tool that can prove to be extremely valuable on the fireground.