The most common fire department vehicle you’ll see is a fire engine. Engines are different from trucks (carrying long ladders), ambulances (for transporting people to hospitals), and other vehicles.
A fire engine typically carries firefighters to a fire or emergency. The engine often has three key components on board: hoses, a tank that holds water, and a pump that supplies the hoses with water. This type of fire engine is called a “Triple Combination Engine” or “Triple for short.
A typical modern fire engine will carry tools for a wide range of firefighting and rescue tasks, with common equipment including ladders, self-contained breathing apparatus, ventilating equipment, first aid kits, and hydraulic rescue tools.
A fire truck is typically the long aerial ladder trucks you see on the way to a large fire or certain types of medical emergencies. For certain medical emergencies, more firefighters are needed to assist, which is why you sometimes see trucks or engines in addition to an ambulance at the scene of a medical incident.
The fire engine you see in the photograph is the most common type found in towns and cities. This is called a Type 1 fire engine. It is designed to fight fires in buildings, like a home or business.
There are other types of fire engines as well, often centered around wildfire operations. To learn more about them, visit the links to the right.
Read More from the California Fire Prevention Organization