An under utilized and sometimes forgotten tool of the fire service is pressurized water extinguishers or as most of us know them as; “water cans”.
The 2.5 gallons of pressurized water has considerable reach (approx. 50ft when full) and through proper flow and nozzle control, is an invaluable tool for firefighters. From brush fires to search operations, large fires to small fires, effective water can usage can control, contain and even sometimes extinguish fires. The latter of which not being the primary goal but rather a positive result of effective water can usage.
Remember, the primary goal of water can usage is to delay the spread of fire/contain fire until a hoseline begins extinguishment operations, until your crew has finished searching the fire room or your crew and victims have evacuated.
Search team members in the “can-man” positions should remember when encountering fire during search operations, to use short bursts of water, aiming high at the fire. These short bursts can effectively cool, control and contain the fire to a certain area’s during the search. Also, should roll over conditions be present, use of the water can to cool the upper, hottest layer of the room can delay flashover while crews evacuate.
Most importantly, the water can must come off the apparatus and be in the hands of a search crew member in order to be used. Remember to use short, controlled bursts of water. You may be amazed at the ability to control/contain a fire with only 2.5 gallons of water.