Fire trucks are equipped to carry the team of firefighters needed to battle a fire, along with all the supplementary equipment. These vehicles include ladders such as ground and aerial ladders and can also be used for rescues and other emergency first aid services. Depending on their use, fire trucks may be equipped with a variety of different audible warning sounds, which are used to signal the presence of an emergency vehicle.
Traditionally, most fire trucks have been powered by large horses. However, this was replaced in the 19th century with gasoline powered engines which are more efficient and can create a powerful stream of water much quicker. This led to the creation of fire engine trucks which can quickly reach a fire scene. These trucks are able to tap into water from nearby fire hydrants, which are used as a permanent water supply.
The most commonly recognized type of fire truck is the ladder truck, which features a long telescoping ladder that extends out the back of the vehicle. This allows firefighters to reach areas that are otherwise inaccessible and can help them rescue trapped people from buildings. Ladder trucks are often equipped with a master stream hose, which is a fixed deluge gun that can be activated to release a high-pressure spray of water on a targeted area. The spray can be directed from the nozzle or from a pump panel, which is controlled by the fire fighters who operate the vehicle.
Another popular type of fire truck is the fire rescue or wet rescue vehicle. These are generally based on pick-up trucks and 4-wheel drive chassis and come in many configurations. These are primarily used in wildland firefighting, but have more maneuverability and accessibility than the typical fire engine. These vehicles can still be equipped with a variety of firefighting gear, including self-contained breathing apparatus and chainsaws. They may also be able to carry a full complement of advanced life support equipment.
A fire truck can also be fitted with foam systems which are used to saturate materials or surfaces to prevent them from re-igniting. This is particularly useful for situations where flammable chemicals are present, such as in chemical accidents. These types of fire trucks are often equipped with CAFS (Compressed Air Foam System), which is a type of foam that can be generated from the truck’s water tanks.
All fire trucks are required to meet certain NFPA standards and must be properly maintained in order to operate effectively. Despite the fact that the exact specifications of each fire truck can vary widely between departments, standardization ensures that fire crews can quickly request and receive the resources they need to get to the fire and tackle the problem at hand. Moreover, it also ensures that regional terminology does not interfere with the efficiency of mutual aid, as each fire department can clearly communicate the kind of equipment they require for an emergency call. In addition to the aforementioned equipment, fire trucks may also be equipped with a variety of other specialty items like hazmat gear and structural or ballistic tools.