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JohnnyOV

The Water Can

19 posts in this topic

You are absolutely correct on the water can's usefulness.

We carry one on all apparatus and in all Chiefs' vehicles.

We also add 8 ounces of Class A foam to each, making them even more effective.

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Great topic, thanks for sharing your information with us!

As for adding Class A, that is also a great idea-as people know I'm a big proponent of that. It really helps to extinguish and make the most out of the water you have. Dawn dishwashing soap also does a similar job cheaper as well I've found.

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"Nothing but a can job!" ;)

The "can" or "PW" depending what slang you use is a very useful tool. I have seen it used in various ways, mostly to hold the fire in check while the first line is being deployed. Just like the old saying about a nozzle-man, it's usage depends on the experience and training the operator has. A lot of times we may roll up to a scene and report a "nothing showing from the outside, going in to investigate." This is the ideal situation where at least one member going into the structure should carry a water can along with a hand tool. With this tool, if their is a fire (large or small), it can be utilize to hold it in check or to help you protect your crew get out if need be. Now its not a lot of water and you can quickly expel it, you need to practice and and train with it. Even adding a cup of AFFF or Class A foam into it gives you a very powerful tool.

I'm a firm believer of bringing and using a water can when it is warranted.

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Good post, and good stop!

The can is a great tool. If anyone has the chance to use the burn pod at WCFTC, take the can in and you can appreciate how much fire can be KO'd with it.

We also carry a can on the Engines, Truck & Rescue, as well as 2 out of 3 cars (no room in the other one). It is one of the items taken in by initial entry teams at every call with the TIC, Gas detector and Irons.

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First I will start out saying that I have very limited knowledge and hope that other more experienced members wiil chime in and aid in the discussion of operational tactics and use of the water can.

At Yorktown's fire yesterday, I, along with everyone else was impressed at the amount of fire that was knocked down with the water can. As I pulled up in the utility an noticed fire was pushing up the stairs and out the front door of the building, E270 arrived on scene and begain the basic bread and butter operations of an engine company. 3 members had streched a line to the garage / basement door, and were ready for entry while my LT and I headed to the front door with the irons and the water can and TIC. While the hose team was awaiting water, my Lt and I entered the building and he was able to hold and basically knock the fire down with just the simple use of the 2.5 gals of water. The room that was on fire was approx 5'x5' big and was the boiler and washing machine / dryer room. The fire had extended out of the room and was seconds away from catching the furnature at the top of the stairs. post-172-126143516204.jpg post-172-126143517231.jpg post-172-126143517701.jpg post-172-126143541677.jpg

Fire was banked about 1/2 down the height of the stairs and begining to travel into the garage and into the living room in the basement as well. My Lt and I made our way down the stairs and to the fire room and he begain hitting the seat of the fire and the walls/ celing with the stream quickly extinguishing most of the heated gases. Had this not been done, fire most likely would have continued travling up the stairs and spread throughout most of the living area.

That war story being told, I urge every department to carry and utilize the water can for both holding a medium sized fire in its place and extingishing a small fire before it gets out of hand while you are awaiting water. In a simple room and contents fire, the water can works wonders because in a confined area, when the water is applied, it expands to 1700 times its original size in the form of steam and will quickly darken down the fire. When a fire is little bit beyond the r&c stage, it can hold back and slow progression until the hose team arrives.

Im curious as to what other departments utilize this tool and how its implemented in their deparment. For mine, every rig with the exeception of the tanker and the brush truck carry at least 1 2.5 gal water can, and take it in on almost every alarm we receive. Im sure other can add more to this, but thats my rant for now.

This is a great topic and the can has been and will continue to be a valuble tool on the fire ground. If you don't mind I would like to comment on the fire operations. I was not there and will only go by what you have wrote. You stated that you arrived and saw fire pushing up the stairs and out the door. That is a great size up and should help you and everyone else on scene with your next steps towards advancing on this fire. You tell us that the engine company started their "bread and butter" operations by stretching to the basement/garage door. We need to stop here and discuss. This is a residential structure with unknown ( we never assume everyone is out ) trapped occupants. In my opinion the first line should have gone to the front door where the fire was showing and protected the means of egress. The best chance of survival for any and all fleeing occupants is to protect their escape. With that said, you have stated that you and the Lt proceeded to the front door (which I believe is the right place to be) and began to use the can to keep the fire in check. Great move and great job on the Lt and his decission. Lets all go back to probie school or FF1 whichever pertains to you and remember what was taught about opposing handlines. This is a basement job and should be treated as such. In no way whatsoever should a handline have been stretched to the level below the front door. You and your Lt may have saved your own lives by using that can before the engine got water. Had there been a well advanced fire that the can did not control and the engine started pushing in my money would have been on the engine companies handline and not the truckies can. You guys are very lucky to have not received major burns or even have been killed. Take this as a learning aid and teach others what you know. In the end of the day we all (paid or volly ) have families we want to go home to and deserve that. Stay low and let it blow.

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First, it looks like a great job and another affirmation about the use of the can. This is the kind of job that shows what decent training and execution can do. But, Lad12derff is right about the line. If there are any "always" in this job, I'd say it's taking the line though the front door on dwellings. Gaining and maintaining control of the stairs must be a priority. Had you and the Lieu gotten into trouble the line may have not been in the ideal spot to control your egress. Again, strong work, but maybe more than the obvious "can" lesson to discuss.

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This is a great topic, both for the can and general tactics (control of stairwell).

Last week we did a pub ed event for the press on christmas tree fires, and once the press was gone, we did some additional burning at our training facility. One of the evolutions we did was keeping a room and contents fire in check with a can. It was great to see not only how much fire can but put out with a can, but also watching the effect on the fire with the can and controlling the door.

The idea of putting foam in the can is a great idea too. Thanks for sharing.

Be safe.

JR

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This is a great topic and the can has been and will continue to be a valuble tool on the fire ground. If you don't mind I would like to comment on the fire operations. I was not there and will only go by what you have wrote. You stated that you arrived and saw fire pushing up the stairs and out the door. That is a great size up and should help you and everyone else on scene with your next steps towards advancing on this fire. You tell us that the engine company started their "bread and butter" operations by stretching to the basement/garage door. We need to stop here and discuss. This is a residential structure with unknown ( we never assume everyone is out ) trapped occupants. In my opinion the first line should have gone to the front door where the fire was showing and protected the means of egress. The best chance of survival for any and all fleeing occupants is to protect their escape. With that said, you have stated that you and the Lt proceeded to the front door (which I believe is the right place to be) and began to use the can to keep the fire in check. Great move and great job on the Lt and his decission. Lets all go back to probie school or FF1 whichever pertains to you and remember what was taught about opposing handlines. This is a basement job and should be treated as such. In no way whatsoever should a handline have been stretched to the level below the front door. You and your Lt may have saved your own lives by using that can before the engine got water. Had there been a well advanced fire that the can did not control and the engine started pushing in my money would have been on the engine companies handline and not the truckies can. You guys are very lucky to have not received major burns or even have been killed. Take this as a learning aid and teach others what you know. In the end of the day we all (paid or volly ) have families we want to go home to and deserve that. Stay low and let it blow.

Great post, and I appologize for not going into what we did once we arrived. The basement door was closed on our arrival, and the Lt had told the hose team to wait until he gave the ok to enter the structure and begin flowing water. Even once they entered, they held off on water until it was clear and the command was given to do so. That being said, you are completely correct on bringing the line to the front door, and that is something that was discussed immediatly after the fire, and everyone was in agreement that it was the 1 thing we would have changed on this run.

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Not to go too off topic, but an "Indian Tank" can knock down a good amount of a brush fire. Several years ago while our Engine Co. crew was stretching 800' of 2'1/2" for a supply line to break in to two 1 3/4"'s, I took an Indian Tank and knocked down probably 2/3 of the perimeter of the brush fire. The 1 3/4"'s were then used to extinguish the remainder and overhaul of hot spots.

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The water can is a great tool.Some time ago I had a kitchen fire going pretty good. The engine was stuck in a snow bank at the mouth of the driveway. I was able to knock most of the fire down with a can. Another firefighter came in with another can and finished up. we were able to do overhaul with a booster line. We now put about 8 oz of foam in the can. It works well. Also one firefighter off the first in engine is assighned to the can.

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I have a question regarding the water can and car fires. Knowing the modern day hazards that exist in most modern cars, would it be advisable, considering adequate man power is on scene, for a firefighter to attempt to knock down or at least contain and minimize a car fire of appropriate size with the 2.5 gallon water can prior to the line off of the engine being charged? Obviously if the entire car is on fire that might be a little silly, but with a fire in the engine compartment, not requiring the Class D extinguisher, is this a good idea or is it more advisable to wait for line to in place and charged? Would an ABC work better than the water can?

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There's too little reward for the risk with a well advanced vehicle fire. Your best defense against injury is the reach of a hose stream.

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KUDOS to the Yorktown FD "Can Man"

:D

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I have a question regarding the water can and car fires. Knowing the modern day hazards that exist in most modern cars, would it be advisable, considering adequate man power is on scene, for a firefighter to attempt to knock down or at least contain and minimize a car fire of appropriate size with the 2.5 gallon water can prior to the line off of the engine being charged? Obviously if the entire car is on fire that might be a little silly, but with a fire in the engine compartment, not requiring the Class D extinguisher, is this a good idea or is it more advisable to wait for line to in place and charged? Would an ABC work better than the water can?

This will answer your question about car fires and water cans...

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This will answer your question about car fires and water cans...

The can and the hook combination are just as important as carrying the irons. One thing I have seen in my time is the younger members need to practice how to manage these tools, It may seem silly, But if your the new Johnny new guy or a new Volunter It just gets "overlooked" how to manage carrying these tools into a burning burning. In my Department on the Rescue we have to carry the can with a 6' steel roof hook with a married halligan. When your in a vacant with the new guy or in a drill tower it's a good idea to show the guy how to manage the tools cause sooner or later your gonna need them down the hall and the guy is gonna tell ya " I didn't think we needed the can cause it was a big fire in there". If they fully understand how and why those tools are needed and how to manage them in a burning then they wont be left out on the front porch at the next fire.

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As important as knowing how to carry the can is how to use it. In most situations we use the can the fire is real minor and the member places their finger over the nozzle of the can to disperse the water and not blow the burning material all over the place. When the fire is going and we are using it to buy time or get a door closed i'd use it full blast in spurts. On lots of runs this stuff seems trivial but when the engine is making a long stretch and the can must be used to facilitate a search under tough conditions its essential for the guy (or girl) with the can to use it to its full potential. Once the fire has flashed over the can is usually not much use in absorbing the tremendous heat being generated. The firefighter with the can can use it for ventilation, but hold on tight it wants to go out the window, and when its empty it bounces off the window and makes you look silly. The can can also be applied to a burn patient to stop the burning process. I've seen the can used to cool metal be cut.

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I was always taught, and now teach the new guys how useful the can is/can be. In my FF1 class the instructors made a point of demonstrating the abilities of the can as the fire was getting started before the first evolution began. I've used it more then once on very small fires found during automatic alarm investigations. There is no excuse for the can to be sitting on the truck during an alarm investigation. The can man is also required to carry a 6 foot steel or wood hook while another member carries the irons. We carry a water, and a foam can on both our engine and truck. A very good point is made above about neglecting to bring a can along because its a "big fire." Especially for truck or rescue companies those 2.5 gallons can really make a difference, as demonstrated by the original post here.

Edited by BFD196

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