Types of Firetrucks and Their Uses You Should Know

Posted by Zachary Lightfoot, on October 1, 2022

Firefighting is a risky job, and firefighters depend on a variety of vehicles to complete their duties. The modern firetruck is usually associated with flashing lights, blaring sirens, and a massive water tank. The super-sized truck is one of the most visible indicators of a fire scene.

Whenever there is a fire incident, you must have seen the sizable trucks rushing, honking horns, and blaring loud sirens. As you move your car to the side to give way to the truck, you might wonder what type of firefighting truck it is. Or you might be thinking about what fire apparatus I should buy next. So, to clear all the confusion here is an explanation of several types of fire apparatus you might need for the department.

  1. Fire Trucks:

A fire truck, also known as a rescue truck, is an emergency vehicle that carries a team of rescuers and all vital auxiliary equipment from the fire station to the fire scene. These typically include ladders and halogens as well as first aid and protective equipment.

It is mainly confused with fire engines, but they are different. The primary purpose of a fire truck is to rescue people, evacuate the incident place, and save lives by providing aid to victims.



  1. Fire Engine:

The term "fire engine" refers to a truck that is more focused on moving water than it is moving equipment. It is also known as a pumper. The first vehicle you see showing up at a potential fire scene is a fire engine.

A typical fire engine comprises a water tank, a water pump, many feet of powerful hoses, and some extra materials, faucets, and tools to ensure that the hoses work effectively.



  1. Ladder Truck:

The ladder truck is a lot like the standard fire truck but with the added ladder on top. While most of the time the ladder will have a waterway, that is not always the case. Ladder trucks are not the same as platform trucks and they do not have a platform, or “bucket,” at the end of the ladder.




  1. Platform truck:

Like ladder trucks, the platform has a large aerial device on top of the truck. The difference is the bucket at the end of the ladder. Platforms are usually longer than ladder trucks but that is not always the case. They come in 2 varieties; mid-mounts, which have the base of the ladder mounted in the middle of the truck with the bucket hanging off the back, and rear-mounts, which are mounted at the back with the bucket over the cab.



  1. Quint:

There are 5 things to look at to know if you’re looking at a quint, a pump (at least 1,000 GPM), a tank (at least 300 gallons), fire hose, an aerial device with a permanent waterway, and ground ladders. The quint is like having a fire engine and a ladder truck all in one.




  1. Wildland Fire Engine:

The primary purpose of wildland fire engines/ brush trucks is to be able to navigate bumpy, challenging landscapes while keeping a high clearance for suspension and wheels. These small vehicles resemble utility trucks used by contract workers, except they have an inbuilt pump for fighting wildfires. They are smaller than A-wagons but serve the same purpose.

Furthermore, brush units can often handle more challenging terrain than larger vehicles.



The Bottom Line:

While this list is not exhaustive it will probably give you a better idea of what you’re looking at when you drive past a fire scene. It also might help you in deciding what truck your department needs. Check us out at firetruckmall.com and see what we have in stock.

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