When you hear about a fire breaking out, you might imagine a large red vehicle with flashing lights and sirens speeding towards the scene. This is a fire truck that contains all the necessary equipment needed by firefighters to extinguish the flames. The types of fire trucks vary according to the needs of a particular fire department and can include tankers, ladder trucks and special vehicles like forcible entry tools, hydraulic rescue tools and thermal imaging cameras. A fire truck also contains the pump panel that is a large lever-operated system that helps control or restrain the flow and pressure of the water-spraying hoses.
The first type of fire truck is the engine truck. This is often referred to as the fire lorry in some parts of the world. It has a large water tank that can hold hundreds of gallons of water at a time, which is used to help extinguish the fire once the firefighters reach the scene. The engine also has a fixed deluge gun or master stream that allows the firefighters to release a heavy, continuous flow of water at the desired location. When the onboard water tank runs out, the firefighters can connect to external water sources such as fire hydrants or water tenders.
A ladder fire truck is another type of fire truck that features a telescopic ladder that allows the crew to access difficult-to-reach areas at the height of the fire. These trucks are usually able to access roofs of commercial buildings, apartment buildings and townhouses. Ladder fire trucks typically have a master stream hose that can spray water in the direction of the fire. In some cases, the ladder on these trucks can extend up to 105 feet, which gives firefighters ample room to move about the area.
Other important equipment that is found on these vehicles includes the turntable ladder, which is a device that allows the firefighters to rotate the aerial ladder so they can take advantage of different angles to attack the fire from multiple directions. Some fire trucks also have a special winch, which can help lift heavy objects, such as cars, from the ground. Some fire departments also use specialty trucks to carry equipment that is too heavy for standard fire engines and ladder trucks to carry, such as circular saws, cutting torches, cranes, high-lift jacks, winches and wooden cribbing.
Besides these essential pieces of firefighting equipment, a typical fire truck will also contain a radio system to communicate with the firefighters in the field. The communication between the firefighters and the backend team at the fire department is imperative, especially when it comes to coordinating their actions at a fire scene. Fire departments can also convert vehicles other than trucks into firefighting apparatuses, such as boats, helicopters and even four-wheeled ATVs.