Many people think a fire truck and a fire engine are the same; however, that’s not necessarily true. So stay tuned to discover all you need to know about the difference between a fire truck and a fire engine.
The Main Difference
The terms “fire truck” and “fire engine” are often used interchangeably, but there is a crucial difference between the two. A fire truck is a vehicle specially designed to carry firefighters and equipment to the fire scene. A fire engine is a vehicle that pumps water to fight a fire.
Fire Truck Fact: In some locations, people refer to them as a fire lorry or a nee-naw.
What is a Fire Truck?
A fire truck is a large, heavy vehicle typically used to transport firefighters and equipment to the scene of a fire.
Although fire trucks resemble engines, they don’t always have water pumps.
A fire truck is a vehicle with a water pump and hose to fight fires. The first fire trucks were horse-drawn. Later on, they switched to steam and then to gasoline. Today, most engines use diesel.
The typical fire truck has a pump, hose, and ladder. The pump draws water from a fire hydrant and delivers it to the hose. Then, the hose directs the water to the fire. Finally, the ladder allows access to the roof of a building.
Most fire trucks are red. They also have sirens, air horns, and flashing lights to clear traffic from the truck’s path. These lights are called beacons or light bars.
Fire Truck Fact: At first, firefighters used manually extendable ladders. As these grew in length (and weight), firefighters put these ladders onto two large wheels.
What is a Fire Engine?
A Fire engine is a smaller, lighter vehicle that typically pumps water to fight a fire. Because of that, It has a large water capacity.
The first fire engines were pumps mounted on carts. The first recorded use of a fire engine was in Ctesiphon, Persia, in 672 AD. These early engines were hand-powered and used human labor to pump water.
New York City built the first steam-powered fire engine in 1841. It was much more potent than the hand-powered engines and could pump water at a higher rate. As a result, steam-powered fire engines became very popular and were deployed in many large cities by the end of the 19th century.
Today, most fire engines have diesel engines. These engines are more powerful than steam engines and can pump water at a higher rate. Fire engines also carry a variety of equipment such as ladders, hoses, and tools.
This top-of-the-line equipment includes a massive hose, a huge water tank, high-pressure nozzles, and a powerful pump.
The pump has a minimum capacity of a whopping 1,500 gallons per minute.
The tank overflows with water to accomplish this task, usually between 500 and 750 gallons (but it can be more depending on the truck).
Firefighters can communicate with others at the fire site or back at base. They use mobile tech and two-way radios to know what they’re walking into and coordinate their labor safely.
Fire Truck vs. Fire Engine: Key differences
Some of the main differences between a fire truck and a fire engine include:
Fire trucks are typically larger and carry more equipment than a fire engine.
Fire trucks are equipped with lifesaving tools like the Jaws of Life and hydraulic ladders to reach victims on multiple building floors. They also carry thermal imaging cameras and other equipment as hydraulic rescue tools.
A fire engine has a large water capacity.
Yes! Some fire trucks can carry a water tank. But unfortunately, its capacity is much less than that of a fire engine.
A fire truck can drive through snow and ice.
A fire truck can typically drive through snow and ice using a plow or a blower to clear a path in front of it. It may also have chains or studded tires to improve traction. Therefore, the fire truck supports the firefighter while the fire engine puts out the fire.
The fire truck is the support vehicle for the firefighters. It carries its technical equipment, hydraulic rescue tools, and other supplies. At the same time, it provides a platform to operate the fire engine’s pumps and hoses.
The fire engine is the vehicle that puts out the fire. It carries the water and pumps it onto the fire.
The equipment that every Fire Truck includes
Hydraulic ladders are one of the best-known firefighters’ equipment. This kind of ladder facilitates the firefighter’s job. However, sometimes the firefighters are forced to use non-hydraulic ladders to access some complex structures.
Firefighters use different types of hydraulic ladders during their hard job. For instance, some fire trucks have installed a fire escape ladder. This ladder has unique materials that can resist corrosion and other damages.
The extraction tools are also called rescue tools. This equipment is valuable when a fire truck arrives at a crash scene.
For instance, the Jaws of Life are a group of hydraulic equipment used for extrication in emergencies by firefighters. They include rams, spreaders, and cutters. This equipment is necessary if a person has been in a car accident.
On the other hand, Cutters made of aluminum alloy tend to move in a scissor-like motion. The cutters count with a mouth that closes and opens according to hydraulics. The alloy steel used in the piston rod of the blades is fire-resistant.
What about the spreaders? Rescue spreaders help quickly and easily extricate victims of road traffic accidents (RTA’s) and collapsed buildings. This powerful tool spreads the broken structures and makes the necessary space to work in rescuing the victim.
Just imagine how much strength a human must have to do the same job! Yet, these tools save people’s lives, and firefighters must know how to use them properly.
Compressed Air Breathing Apparatus
A compressed air breathing apparatus (CABA) is a type of respiratory protection equipment that uses cylinders of compressed air to provide breathable air.
Another piece of equipment is the self-contained breathing apparatus or SCBA. With this tool, firefighters, rescue workers, and others can operate in environments where air quality may threaten human health and safety.
If their breathing apparatus fails, firefighters who wear a CABA may need to evacuate from a hazardous environment.
The CABA is worn on the firefighter’s body like a suit and has a hose that attaches to it. When firefighter needs to take a breath, they open the cylinder valve and inhale the air.
Thermal Imaging Cameras
They are essential for firefighters because they can help them see what is happening in the building. They can also help them to save lives by spotting people who are trapped or who are suffering from a burning fire.
Firefighters use thermal imaging cameras to see through smoke and flames, even under challenging conditions.
A fire truck must also have pumps, fire extinguishers, hoses, and other tools.
For example, a fire truck must have a pump to supply water to the hoses. The pump must be powerful enough to create pressure to push water through the hoses and to the fire.
Fire extinguishers are another essential tool that a fire truck must-have. Fire extinguishers put out small fires before they get out of control.
Conclusion of the difference between a Fire Truck and a Fire Engine
If you didn’t know the difference between a fire engine and a fire truck, now you do! Be sure to use the correct term when referring to either one of these vehicles in the future.