Fire trucks are a large red vehicle that is constantly honking its horn and blaring its sirens as it rushes to the scene of a fire. They are usually based on commercial vehicles and have been modified to fit firefighting requirements such as sirens, lighting equipment and communication gear such as mobile computers and two-way radios.
A fire truck can be a stand-alone vehicle or can include other vehicles such as engines, water tenders and aerial ladders. In some communities, a fire apparatus will be used to transport first responder-educated firefighters and paramedics to medical emergencies because of their faster response times compared to ambulances from hospitals.
In most communities, a fire truck is a three-in-one vehicle that has a pump, a tank and hoses (or reels). The water tank stores water for the engine and the hoses connect to the water tank through fittings called “nozzles.”
Several types of nozzles are available to match the type of fire to fight and the terrain at the scene of the fire. These nozzles are designed to spray a wide variety of materials from different angles, which allows them to be effective in fighting fires in confined spaces or in dense brush.
Some of the nozzles have an articulating arm that can extend to different distances or move left and right, depending on the situation at hand. This system can be controlled using a set of joysticks or from the bucket.
A typical fire truck has a large water tank that can hold up to 750 gallons of water. In some instances, the tank may be located under the hood and in others it will be built into a separate compartment behind the driver’s cab.
These vehicles are typically pick-up truck based and feature 4-wheel drive on a medium duty chassis. They are often seen in both suburban and wildland settings.
This type of fire truck is the most common type of vehicle in most fire departments. Its cab is fitted with seats that can be equipped to carry self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) and other tools. It also has a winch on the front that can be used to tow damaged cars.
Another popular option for fire trucks is a specialized unit called a Quint. This unit combines the capabilities of an aerial ladder with a pumper to give the crew the ability to rescue trapped victims or use the ladder to fight the fire.
A platform truck is an essential tool for emergency situations, especially in rural areas where there are no fire hydrants and the natural water resources are too limited to be exploited effectively. These platforms can be up to 110 feet in length and can reach high above a structure.
They are a favorite among firefighters because they provide quick access to multi-story buildings, which are more difficult to get into in the event of a fire. They can also be used to assist with rescues by elevating the injured or unconscious.