Monday, March 3, 2008

Get to know the Fire Trucks

Fire Truck

At the beginning of the 1900s there simply were no fire trucks. The combustion engine hadn’t been invented yet and the only horsepower available was the genuine horse variety. Horses pulled the wagons that carried water barrels and the essential water pump. The fire hoses were on a separate cart pulled by very strong men! Both horses and men ran at top speed to the conflagration!

The first cars came off the assembly line in 1908 and in 1913 the first motorized Fire Engine was created. Now the water, water pump, hoses and firemen could all be speedily transported together to the fire.

Today firemen are highly trained professionals with the science and modern equipment they need to effectively fight fires and to save lives and property. The most familiar of their modern tools are the bright red or yellow fire trucks we see in our communities. We’ve come a long way from wagons and carts!

Did you know there are different kinds of fire trucks? Here are a few of the basic models:

The Pumper Truck is the one you see most of the time. It is about 30 feet long and holds some water though not as much as some other trucks. A pump on the truck can increase the pressure in the hose to make the water reach further. If it has a hydrant, lake or other source of water to increase its supply, a Pumper Truck can pump 1,250 gallons (that’s 15,000 glasses of water) a minute! The Pumper Truck is often called to the scene of a car accident. If the gas tank leaks and the gasoline catches on fire, the firemen will be there ready to douse it.

The Tanker Truck is also 30 feet long, but it holds more water than the Pumper Truck, about 1,000 gallons! When it arrives at the scene the firemen set up a pond made out of canvas. The Tanker Truck unloads its water into the pond. Now the Pumper Truck can move into position and pump the water from the pond into its hoses and onto the fire. Meanwhile the Tanker Truck can leave to get more water. The Pumper and Tanker trucks work well together, the one pumping water onto the fire, the other re-supplying water as needed.

The Ladder Truck is 40 to 50 feet long, much longer than Pumper or Tanker trucks. It has a ladder on top that is about 100 feet long! There is a “bucket” or big box at the very end of the ladder. Firemen ride in the bucket to reach the windows of a building to rescue people who are trapped inside. The ladder and “bucket” also allow firefighters to get to the roof of a building to cut a hole and let smoke and heat escape.

The Tiller Ladder Truck has metal ladders that expand like a telescope. The ladders can reach up in the air about 100 feet (ten stories high). The Tiller Ladder Truck has two steering wheels and two drivers - one in the front and one in the back. The one in the back controls the rear wheels and allows this very long truck to go around corners easily.

The Quint Truck is both a Pumper Truck and a Ladder Truck. “Quint” means “five” and this truck has a pump, water tank, hose, ground ladders, and an aerial ladder.

The Heavy Duty Rescue Truck is equipped with tools to help get people out of car wrecks and other places where they might be trapped. Some rescue trucks can generate their own electricity to run lights and electric tools. That’s mighty handy in an emergency!

No comments: