If you’re in the area of a fire scene, you’ve likely seen a large red vehicle honking its horns, blaring sirens and rushing down the road. Whether you are in a car or on foot, you probably want to get out of its way and allow it to safely pass you. However, you may not know what this fire truck is or why it’s so important to the local community.
The main purpose of a fire truck is to transport firefighters and their equipment to the scene of an emergency. The firefighters then use the fire trucks to help contain and extinguish the blaze, rescue people from the scene and provide emergency first aid and assistance. Fire trucks are also equipped to ventilate and decontaminate the scene of the fire and to remove any materials that might be hazardous.
There are many different types of fire trucks. Some are designed for specific situations. For example, the fire truck used for wildland firefighting must be able to go through rugged terrain and climb steep hills and slopes. It is also equipped with a fire suppression system that uses foam to quickly and efficiently control the flames.
Other types of fire trucks include engine trucks, water tankers and ladder trucks. The fire truck that is geared toward urban areas generally contains long ladders, additional firefighting equipment and heavy rescue tools. Some of these fire trucks have specialized firefighting equipment such as thermal imaging cameras, self-contained breathing apparatuses, floodlights and fire hoses.
Unlike the traditional horse-drawn steam powered vehicles of the past, most modern fire trucks are driven by engines. These fire engines are typically gas-powered and create a lot of power to operate the onboard water pumps that fill the fire trucks’ tanks with hundreds of gallons of water in just seconds.
A pump panel in the fire truck helps firefighters control and restrain the flow and pressure of the hoses that are being used to spray water at the fire. Firefighters must have years of training to be able to do this. Various nozzles are attached to the fire trucks’ hoses so that they can be aimed at the appropriate location of the fire.
Water tanks on fire trucks hold thousands of gallons of water. They are usually made of aluminum or steel. They are also equipped with a system to rapidly drain the water into portable water tanks in just seconds. Firefighters must be able to empty these tanks often because they will be used up during fires and other emergencies that require them to respond on short notice.
All fire trucks are also equipped with radio systems that let the crew communicate clearly with each other as they drive to the scene of an emergency. They also are typically equipped with seats with special pockets that can store and easily access their SCBA (self-contained breathing apparatuses). This allows them to put on their air packs immediately as they leave the fire truck to ensure safety when entering a crowded fire scene.