When people hear the term fire truck they immediately think of a big red vehicle that is constantly honking its horns and blaring its sirens. They also think of the large cascade of water that this vehicle creates once they arrive at the scene of a fire. However, the term fire truck is often misunderstood and used interchangeably with another name that many first responders use which is a fire engine.
A fire truck is a specialized vehicle that helps transport firefighters along with all of their tools and equipment to the fire scene. Often, it will have ladders like ground ladders and aerial ladders that help them reach hard to get places. It will also have firefighting equipment like pumps, water supply tanks, rescue tools and much more.
The exact equipment carried on a fire truck depends on the needs of the specific department. Fire trucks that serve urban areas will typically be larger because they need to carry more firefighting tools and supplies. They will usually have water tanks with a minimum capacity of 1,000 gallons. Some will even have preconnects which are hose lines that are already connected and ready to be used which saves time when responding to an emergency.
Ladder trucks are one of the most familiar types of fire trucks because they have the long ladders that help firefighters access tall buildings. These trucks were developed in the first half of the twentieth century because of the rising skyscrapers that were being built at the time. The ladders on these fire trucks are hydraulically operated and can be extended to different lengths depending on the location of the fire. Some of these trucks will even have forcible entry tools and ventilation equipment onboard to help with various scenarios.
Firefighters will often carry their equipment in the trunks of these vehicles to ensure that they can quickly access the gear they need at a fire scene. They will also carry radio systems in these trucks which are essential when they are at a fire scene to communicate with each other.
These fire trucks are also equipped with a number of other accessories like thermal imaging cameras, foam sprayers and high-volume deluge guns to make it easier for them to combat various scenarios. They will also have a portable pump which helps to supply water at the scene of an emergency when hydrants are not available.
FDNY relies on several fire apparatus manufacturers to build their fleet of fire trucks. These include Mack, American LaFrance and Seagrave. The latter is the company that FDNY currently uses to manufacture its fire trucks. These rigs are the most common type of firetruck in the United States because of their versatility and affordability. Choosing a fire apparatus manufacturer can be challenging but the best way to find a reputable partner is to look for an experienced company that has built other successful models of fire trucks in the past.