Mike's Guide to Fire Apparatus

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The pumper (or engine) carries a pump, a few hundred feet of hose, a few hundred gallons of water, a couple ladders, a bunch of tools, and, usually, emergency medical supplies.

Durham, NC - mjl

Minneapolis, MN - mjl


The tanker carries extra water, a couple thousand gallons worth, to fire scenes that lack nearby water sources. Tankers can unload their contents into a portable drop tank, which the pumper draws from.

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Tractor-Drawn Tanker

Tractor-drawn tankers carry several thousand gallons of water and are also used in areas that lack nearby water sources, such as rural areas, Interstate highways, or airport runways.

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Brush Truck

Brush trucks carry a small pump, a small amount of hose, and a small water tank.  Brush trucks are used for fighting grass and woods fires and thus are outfitted for off-road travel.

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Piney Grove, NC - mjl


Mini pumpers resemble brush trucks, but may carry some structural firefighting equipment. Both brush trucks and mini pumpers can be used for rapid emergency medical response.

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Aerial Ladder

The aerial ladder (or ladder truck or truck) carries, as a minimum, ladders, ventilation tools, and salvage and overhaul equipment. Some ladder trucks (sometimes called quints) are also equipped with pumps and water tanks.

Tractor-Drawn Aerial Ladder

Tractor-drawn aerial ladders (or tiller ladders) have a seat and steering wheel in the back, to improve maneuverability

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Los Angeles, CA
American LaFrance/LTI

Aerial Tower

Aerial towers (also called aerial platforms, platform ladders, tower trucks, or just trucks) resemble aerial ladders, but have a platform (or bucket) at the end of the ladder.


Snorkels are aerial towers equipped with articulating booms instead of extending ladders.

174 foot! Bronto Skylift


Telesquirts (or squirts) are pumpers equipped with elevating, extending nozzles.

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American LaFrance 

 Photos marked "mjl" are by Mike Legeros. All others unknown. 
Last updated on 02NOV01




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