Carrying The Can
Modifications to the 2-1/2 gallon water extinguisher can make it easier to carry and increase its versatility and usefulness.
There is no doubt about it: this tool is cumbersome. But, there are some things we can do to make it more manageable.
There are commercially made straps available; however, a simple seat belt taken from a car works just as well. Simply loop one end of the belt and tie it off at the top of the can on the wall mount bracket. At the bottom you will have to screw a bracket into the metal and then attach the other end of the belt to it. See the picture for more details.
Most people carry the can slung over their shoulder with the can smacking around on their SCBA cylinder. They are constantly readjusting it. Try carrying it in front of you; it gives you great access to the hose and discharge handle.
If you know you are “going for a walk” (meaning you are climbing a few flights of stairs), put it over your head. It will make the climb much easier. When you reach the floor below your destination, move the can to the aforementioned carrying position in case you actually have to use it when you reach the fire floor.
Another occasion to carry the can is when we are searching with it. My personal choice is always either to grab it high on the strap and pull it with me or to simply lay it on the floor in front of me and push it. Keep in mind you are probably also searching with another tool, such as a six foot hook. Make sure you stay oriented by either keeping the can or the hook or one of your feet on a wall. Basics, people, remember the basics!
Modifying The Can
Adding the carrying strap is just one of the modifications that can be made to make the can more versatile.
1) A rubber band, such as used around a helmet, can be placed around the extinguisher to become a second set of “hands.” It is a great place to put a couple of chocks; however, just about anything could be placed here.
For example, a couple of glow sticks can be kept here. When activated, they make a great reference point inside a building while searching. Frequently, when searching a series of small rooms (such as bedrooms) it is not necessary to drag the can through all the rooms. Leave the can at the bedroom door and do a quick search; the can provides a reference point back to the door you came in. Even without the glow sticks, when your flashlight hits the can, it will reflect and let you know exactly where you are.
2) A small zippered pouch can be zip tied to the extinguisher as well. This is great for keeping a couple of small hand tools or a small back-up flashlight.
3) As far as possible additives go, the two big ones are foam and dish soap. (Check out the comments section of this article). Great for everything from flammable liquids to brush fires, these additives are worth taking a look at. (I will have an article on what to use and how to use additives in your can soon.)
One word of caution, however. Unless you are in the mood for a bubble bath, add the foam or dish soap AFTER you fill the can with water!
If properly taken care of, a water extinguisher will give you years of service, be a reliable, versatile and potent firefighting piece. If you can add any additional tips on anything above, please leave them in the comment section.
Photos courtesy of Courtney Fling
Read additional articles on the can here!
The 2-1/2 Gallon Water Extinguisher – Uses
Taking Care Of The Can – Part 1 – Recharging
Taking Care Of The Can – Part 2 – Inspection and Maintenance
Taking Care Of The Can – Part 3 – Carrying and Modifications
Additives For The Can