Fire trucks, also known as fire engines, are the large vehicles that you see at any fire scene. Often seen in towns and cities, they are a vital part of fighting fires, as well as certain types of medical emergencies.
Historically, fire trucks were fueled by steam. These horses-led, steam-powered fire trucks were used from the 1840s all the way until the First World War, especially in the United States. During this time, fire departments were still faced with many logistical problems that they couldn’t solve until the arrival of gasoline-powered engines in the 1920s.
These fire engines were designed to be faster and more efficient than the horse-driven steam-powered fire trucks. They were more powerful and could produce a strong stream of water, which made them faster at the fire scene.
They were also easier to maneuver than their horse-powered counterparts, making them faster on the job as well. They were also much more durable and able to resist fires caused by burning embers or burn damage.
Today, there are a number of different types of fire trucks available to meet the needs of different departments. These include engine companies, wet rescue, heavy-duty rescue and aerial ladder trucks.
The most common type of fire truck is the engine company, or Type 1. These vehicles are purposefully designed to support urban and rural departments because they are equipped to provide a wide range of NFPA firefighting equipment.
A typical NFPA standard Type 1 engine has a minimum of a 300-gallon water tank and a pump that can deliver up to 150 US gallons per minute at 250 pounds per square inch of pressure. It can also be fitted with a power-take-off (PTO) pump that allows the vehicle to remain in motion while the crew fights the fire.
This is a very important feature for urban and suburban fire departments because it ensures that firefighters have a reliable source of water when they arrive on the scene. This means they won’t have to waste any valuable time attempting to find a water tender or hydrant to source water.
Some engines have preconnects, which are hose lines that are already connected and ready to go when they get to the scene. This saves them time because they don’t have to re-connect every hose line on the fire truck.
These engines may also be equipped with a fixed deluge gun, which is a high-pressure water nozzle that can spray a stream of water. This is useful for fires that involve a lot of water, like those at high-rise buildings and factories.
They can also be equipped with a hydraulic ladder, which is used to tamp down blazes in tall buildings. This is also a very important feature for firefighting in high-rise buildings, as it lets firefighters tamp down fires from the top of the building.
These engine trucks are available in a variety of sizes and can be outfitted with a full range of NFPA firefighting equipment, from a basic water supply system to an extensive EMS gear package. Depending on the jurisdiction, they may also have additional structural and ballistic protection or specialized equipment for a specific task.