Firefighters reach for water guns

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WATER guns instead of unwieldy hoses are being used by firefighters for the first time in Britain in a pilot scheme in West Yorkshire.

Firefighters at Leeds yesterday demonstrated how the guns could be used to put out a blazing car (pictured), and said that they would be particularly useful in areas where it was difficult to run hoses because of distance from a water supply.

The water guns, which are made in Holland, are carried on the officer's back and run on compressed air, firing blasts of water from a 10-litre pack. They are said to work most effectively when used in pairs with the jets aimed at the base of a fire.

If the West Yorkshire trials are successful, the water guns, which cost pounds 2,500 each, will be used by fire brigades across the country.

Photograph: Peter Byrne/Guzelian