Fire departments across the country respond to thousands of emergencies every year. These emergencies range from fires to medical incidents, and each requires the help of firefighters equipped with the proper tools. One of the most important pieces of equipment in a firefighter’s arsenal is the modern fire truck.
A fire truck is a multipurpose vehicle that combines a pump, water tank, and the space to transport firefighters with all of the equipment needed to perform their duties. They also feature emergency lights and sirens to alert residents of an impending disaster, as well as two-way radios and computer technology to ensure constant communication between the crew and their station.
The National Fire Protection Association outlines specific fire truck categories to help fire departments choose the right vehicles for their needs. The most common type of fire truck is the engine, which is designed to fight structural fires in residential and commercial buildings. A ladder truck, which carries a long ladder to reach difficult-to-reach places, is another popular firefighting option. A combination fire truck, which combines a ladder and an engine, is known as a quint or rescue pumper.
Ladder trucks are usually categorized as types 3 through 7. Each category includes a set of standards to identify the different functions of each vehicle. A type 2 truck, for example, is designed for rural areas, where hydrants are less prevalent and natural water sources like rivers or lakes can be difficult to access. These vehicles have a smaller water tank, but still contain all the essential equipment for initial response to wildfires and other outdoor incidents.
Fire truck equipment includes various hoses and lines that expel water in varying rates and pressures depending on the nozzle type, diameter, and length. A preconnect, found on the front of the fire truck, allows firefighters to begin spraying water immediately upon arrival at the scene. This saves time and energy by removing the need to uncurl hoses and attach them to a hydrant.
Other equipment on a fire truck may include thermal imaging cameras, self-contained breathing apparatuses, fire extinguishers, the jaws of life and other hydraulic rescue tools, and floodlights. A modern fire truck may also have a master stream or fixed deluge gun, which can blast water in the direction in which it is aimed. The size of a fire truck’s tanks vary, and can hold anywhere from 500 to 3,000 gallons of water.
A firefighter’s safety and comfort is a top priority in each of these important vehicles. For example, while early fire trucks had open sides that allowed firefighters to sit or stand outside the vehicle, most modern ones have fully enclosed seating areas. These features, along with rigorous testing to meet industry standards, help to ensure that firefighter safety is maintained on all emergency calls. E-ONE is a full-spectrum firetruck manufacturer, offering a variety of models to suit every need. Their innovative design and construction methods are proven to perform well in extreme conditions, providing the strength and reliability our first responders need to keep our communities safe.