Fire trucks are technical vehicles designed to transport heavy equipment and supplies used in firefighting and rescue operations. They are equipped with hydraulic rescue tools such as cranes, high-lift jacks and winches. They also have the ability to transport a variety of different specialty equipment including circular saws, cutting torches, generators and wooden cribbing.
These trucks are often referred to as water tenders because they are designed to carry a large amount of water for extinguishing fires on a fire scene. They are usually a large pick-up truck with 4×4 drive and a water tank, but can be customized for special wildland or urban interface firefighting needs.
There are three types of fire engines: Type 1, Type 3 and Type 4. Each has its own unique set of requirements as defined by NFPA standards.
The first type of fire engine, a Type 1 fire engine is a large truck that carries large pumps and ladders for structure fires. These vehicles typically sit on a commercial chassis and are designed to be sleek and maneuverable. The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) is usually around 26, 000 lbs.
A fire engine also contains a number of other essential pieces of equipment such as thermal imaging cameras, self-contained breathing apparatuses and a wide range of ladders, as well as specialized tools for hazardous materials, hazmat and confined space emergencies. They may even have a fixed deluge gun or master stream, which is a piece of gear that releases a large volume of water to a specific area for rapid fire suppression.
Another type of fire truck is a ladder truck, which is designed to carry a hydraulically operated ladder for accessing a fire scene from above or below. Ladders are often used to access tall buildings or areas that have a long way to go from the ground. These ladders are usually attached to turntables that allow them to extend and raise in a variety of ways.
These ladders are not always a necessity for the firefighter, but they do help provide some additional mobility at the fire scene. In addition, they help to protect the firefighter from falling or getting injured while they’re rescuing people or working to extinguish the fire.
Most fire departments have a few different kinds of ladders, which are usually designed to be a few feet longer than traditional ladders. These types of ladders are also useful for searching through the ruins of a structure and assessing damage.
A ladder truck also commonly has ventilation equipment and forcible entry tools that allow firefighters to gain access to a fire scene from the back of the truck. This is especially important during an initial firefighting response when the firefighters are trying to get to the heart of the fire and assess the situation.
A ladder truck also has a water tender and a pump onboard that provides the firefighter with a continuous supply of water through their water tanks. They can also carry a variety of other tools such as Hurst hand and power tools, specialized saws, ropes, harnesses and cutting torches. They also have a full compliment of Advanced Life Support (ALS) equipment, which includes a variety of breathing and hydraulic rescue tools, as well as thermal imaging cameras and floodlights.