First let’s look at the differences between an “Engine and a “Truck”
Photo Credit: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/fire/article/275933
Here are some Key differences (as I understand) between the Fire Engine and Fire Truck:
E: Carries three main elements that make it a stand alone team. A Pump, a tank and hose.
T: Carries a variety of ladders and tools designed to gain access to the fire building for two main reasons, ventilation and search.
E: Fire engines, or pumpers, carry hose, tools, and pump water. The engine can also carry ladders, but they are set up by the fire fighters and can be carried around. Key components of a fire engine include:
- Water tank (usually 500-750 gallons)
- Pump (approximately 1500 GPM)
- Complement of various types of hose (for both attack and supply)
T: Fire trucks are equipped with very large ladders that extend from the truck but do not come off. Key components of a fire truck include:
- Hydraulically operated (aerial) ladder
- Full complement of ground ladders of various types and lengths
- Specialized equipment for forcible entry, ventilation, and search and rescue tasks
E: The engine company usually arrives first and does best to secure a water supply, deploy lines, find the seat of the fire and knock it down.
T: The truck company is often second or third to arrive at a fire and prefers to have access to the front in case the large ladder is needed.
So What is an “Engine” And what is it’s purpose?
It is said that ‘the Engine Company is the work horse of the Fire Service’ ~ The Happy Medic (http://thehappymedic.com/2009/08/is-that-a-fire-engine-or-a-fire-truck/)… If that’s the case than the Fire Engine is the work horse of the apparatuses.
Ctesibius of Alexandria is said to have designed the very first pump around the second century BC. The technology was subsequently lost, when Alexandria burned, and reinvented in Europe during the 1500’s.
Thomas Lote is credited with building the first fire engine made in America in 1743. These earliest engines are called hand tubs because they are manually (hand) powered and the water was supplied by bucket brigade dumped into a tub (cistern) where the pump had a permanent intake pipe.
An Engine’s primary purpose is to transport firefighters to the fire along with equipment needed to begin putting out the fire or begin rescue operations. Often times an Engine will have a “Deluge Gun” as well as preconnected hose lines, commonly referred to as preconnects.
An Engine is often times referred to as a Pumper due to the fact that they can also pump water from a standing water source, in addition to having an on-board tank for immediate fire suppression.
The Engine has 3 main purposes: Pump, Carry Hose, and Transport Personnel.
While not mandatory, the most common color scheme is Fire Engine Red (color of text is as close as I can get but is not actual Fire Engine Red). Many departments have opted for different color schemes. For example:
- The Chicago Fire Department paints their apparatus black over red.
- Santa Barbara Fire Department uses the traditional fire engine red
- Santa Barbara County Fire Department elects to use blue over white.
- Fort Worth Fire Department uses a white or very light blue w/ dark blue lettering
- Engines have also been painted bright pink in recognition of breast cancer awareness.
A recent study by the American Psychological Association showed that lime-yellow was half as likely to be involved in an accident as the more traditional Fire Engine Red. The study also indicated that lime-yellow is a significantly safer color for emergency vehicles due to its increased visibility.
Join me on an A to Z Journey of firefighting tools throughout the month of April. I appreciate feedback. Please keep in mind that I am not (nor do I pretend to be) a firefighter or a member, either volunteer or paid, of the fire service. My purpose here is to pass on knowledge that I find in hopes to both bring awareness to the fire-service and to help those in the profession do their job safer and better.