Fire trucks are the vehicles that firefighters use to fight blazes and save lives. They are specialized rigs that combine everything a crew needs to perform their important work, from the pumps and water tanks to the ladders and hoses. They feature emergency vehicle lighting and sirens to help others see them and alert them of their presence, as well as equipment like computers and two-way radios to ensure constant communication between the crew and the station.
While most of us know that a fire truck is the rig with the big ladder, few people actually know what exactly a fire truck is or what all it contains. If you ever get the opportunity, take a look inside one of these important first responders and learn about all that goes into making them what they are.
Fire Truck Facts
In most parts of the world, when you hear a fire alarm sound or see smoke billowing from a building, chances are that the local fire department is on their way to the scene. These trucks are often large red vehicles, more like four wheel drives than traditional automobiles, that you see driving down the road honking their horns and blaring their sirens as they race to the emergency scene. Whether it’s an apartment building or your neighborhood, you have probably seen these red vehicles before and wondered what they were all about.
The most common type of fire truck you’ll find in cities and towns is a type 1 fire engine, also known as a pumper or a triple combination rig. This rig is typically based on a commercial vehicle chassis that has been further modified and equipped with the specialized tools needed to carry out various firefighting tasks. Fire engine rigs generally feature a number of hoses that are rolled up and stowed when not in use, as well as a large tank that can hold hundreds of gallons of water at once.
These large rigs can also include a ladder system with multiple lengths and types of rungs, forcible entry equipment and the ability to quickly extend a portable hydraulic platform or winch system. They also contain a full compliment of self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), chainsaws, hazmat gear and other unique items that are specific to each fire department’s response capability and needs.
Firefighters must be ready to go when the call comes in, so they need to be able to get to the scene in a timely manner. That’s why fire trucks usually have built-in headsets that allow the entire crew to communicate with each other while on their way to an intervention site. Some also have special seats that can accommodate SCBA, allowing the crew to “gear up” while they are still on their way to the fire.
Although red remains the most popular color for fire trucks, many departments use a variety of colors including white, yellow, green, orange and even black to identify their vehicles. Regardless of the color, however, these powerful vehicles must be tough and reliable to meet the challenges of their crucial missions. Luckily, E-ONE is a leader in building innovative, reliable and versatile fire trucks for first responders around the world.