E23 was dispatched for a medical alarm. Upon arrival there was no answer at the door and the crew began to inspect the property by looking through doors and windows in an attempt to make contact with an occupant. Many of the doors and windows were covered and locked with accordion shutters which made much of the interior not visible from the outside. While this was occurring, Capt. Dube contacted dispatch to have calls placed to the residence, again in attempt to make contact with a possible occupant. All phone attempts failed along with extensive knocking on doors and windows of property. After these multiple failed attempts, 15-30 minutes had elapsed and Capt. Dube made the decision to force entry into the property. Glass doors were attempted to be removed and every option was exhausted before causing damage. It was determined that breaking the window was the only way to confirm no one was injured and in need of assistance. The window was broken and loud verbal announcements were made to identify the crew as Fire-Rescue. Immediately after breaking the window, the crew heard someone yell "I'm going to shoot, if you come in here" and the crew had a pistol drawn and pointed at them by the homeowner. This obviously was a pretty intense few seconds that thankfully resulted in no harm to anyone involved.
In speaking with the crew involved, their decision to make entry into the property was warranted and the crew was very slow, deliberate, and methodical with their actions. They also made loud announcements to identify themselves and yet still found themselves in a dangerous situation. I think they did everything right and it still wasn't enough. In discussion with the crew, requesting law enforcement was expressed as an additional means of security in calls such as these. Years ago, it was common place to have law enforcement respond anytime we had to force entry into a property (other than a fire) for our security. We seem to have gotten away from that over the years. It may be a good time to revisit/reinforce/create some policy/SOG/Training regarding this topic.