5 Different Types of Fire Trucks – Explanation + Visual Guide

Did you know that there are many different types of fire trucks? Do you know the difference between fire trucks and fire engines? Do fire trucks carry water?

There are 7 types of fire engines and fire trucks. Let’s learn about these specialized types of trucks and the different types of fire engines!

Fire Truck vs. Fire Engine

Fire Truck vs. Fire Engine. Difference between a Fire Truck and a Fire Engine.
Difference between a Fire Truck and a Fire Engine.

“Fire engines” are those vehicles of the fire department that pump water. They have a tank, a water pump, and hoses. The term “fire truck” is reserved for other types of vehicles, usually having one or more ladders. Fire trucks are mainly used for transporting the firemen and other auxiliary equipment like breathing masks, chainsaws, fans, and lights. Thus, Fire Engines and Fire Trucks serve different purposes at a fire scene.

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
  • Ground ladders of various types and lengths
  • Specialized equipment for forcible entry, ventilation, and search and rescue tasks

Fire engines, or pumpers, carry hose, tools, and pump water. The engine can also carry ladders, but they are set up by the firefighters and can be carried around.  Key parts of a fire engine include:

  • Water tank (usually 500-750 gallons)
  • Pump (approximately 1500 GPM)
  • Various types of hose (for both attack and supply)

Types of Fire Trucks

fire engine (also known in some territories as a fire truck or fire appliance) is a vehicle designed primarily for firefighting operations. The terms “fire engine” and “fire truck” are often used interchangeably; however in some fire departments/fire services they refer to separate and specific types of vehicle.

Fire Engine – Wikipedia

Conventional Fire Truck

The standard fire truck is an apparatus meant primarily for firefighting operations. The main purpose of these types of fire trucks is to carry firefighters to the scene, store a limited supply of water with which to fight the fire and to house tools, equipment, and hoses needed by the firefighters.

Quint Fire Truck

Quint Fire Truck(fire apparatus)
Quint Fire Truck(fire apparatus)

A quintuple combination pumper or “quint” is a fire apparatus that serves as both an engine and a ladder truck.

There are five functions that a quint provides: pump, water tank, fire hose, aerial device, and ground ladders.

These types of fire trucks are useful for smaller departments that must protect a combination of single-family homes and low to medium-rise buildings.

Tiller Fire Truck

Tiller Fire Truck or Aerial Ladder Truck.
Aerial Ladder Truck

Large metro communities usually employ tiller aerial ladder trucks. These types of fire trucks work better in urban areas.

Turntable Ladder Fire Truck

A turntable ladder (TL) is a type of fire truck used for forcible entry, ventilation, search and rescue, and to gain access to fires happening in high places using a large telescopic ladder.

Types of Fire Engines

Types 1-2 are the largest in order to carry large pumps and ladders for structure fires, and Types 5-7 are the smallest for navigating rough wildland terrain. Type 3 and 4 engines are mid-sized engines built both for wildland mobility and large water capacity.

Type 1 Fire Engine

Type 1 Fire Engine
Type 1 Fire Engine

A Type 1 (or Class A) fire engine is what you’ll most likely see a Metro community. These fire engine types work best in these areas because of their flexibility. Type 1 fire engines work well at homes, apartments, businesses and high rise buildings.

This fire apparatus normally has a pump, a tank, and several hoses. Usually, a team of four fighters operates type 1 fire engines.

An example of a basic set up would be a pump that operates at 1000 GPM(gallons per minute), a 400 gal/tank, 1200 ft. 2 1/2″ hose, 400 ft. 1 1/2 ” hose, 200 ft. 1″ hose, 20 + feet of ladder, a 500 GPM Master Stream, and minimum staffing of four firefighters.

Type 2 Fire Engine

These fire engine types have a minimum of 500 GPM. These types of fire engines carry a 1000ft X 2 ½ inch and a 500ft X 1 ½inch hose. Unlike type 1 fire engines, type 2s can carry 3 firemen.

Type 3 Fire Engine

Type 3 Fire Engine
Type 3 Fire Engine

If you live in a mountainous or rural community, then the type 3 fire engine is the one you’ll most likely see. Typically, they are four-wheel-drive apparatus intended for rapid deployment, pick up, and relocation during wildfires.

A Type 3 fire engine includes a pump capable of outputting 120 GPM, a large 500 gal/tank, 1000 ft. 1 1/2″ hose, 800 ft. 1″, and a minimum of four firefighters.

There are other types of fire apparatus as well, including Type 4, 5, 6, and 7, but Type 1 and Type 3 are often the most commonly used in a metro or rural community.

Type 4, 5,6, & 7 Engines

 A Type 4 fire engine carries a minimum capacity of at least 2 firemen. Type 4 fire engines have a larger tank than that of type 3. It has a 750-gallon tank. However, it has a smaller pump and less hose.

Type 4 Fire Engine
Type 4 Fire Engine

Type 5, 6, & 7 fire engines are much smaller than a Type 3 or 4 engine. These kinds of fire engine carry 50 to 400 gallons of water with the ease of movement and accessibility that a Type 3 or 4 lacks.  

Type 5 Fire Engine
Type 6 Fire Engine

Types 5-7 are used heavily for initial attack and their GVWR’s are rated in ascending order from 26,000 lbs in Type 5 engines to 14,000 on Type 7 engines. These fire engines hold a minimum of 2 people and carry hose diameters ranging from 1 inch to 1 ½ inches.

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