Fire Trucks Versus Fire Engines: The Differences

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When you make way for the large red vehicle with a blaring siren, you may wonder—is that a fire engine or a fire truck? Perhaps you use those terms interchangeably. Either way, there are things about both fire trucks and fire engines that set these giant vehicles apart. In this article, you’ll find that when you compare fire trucks versus fire engines, the differences lie in their purposes.

A Fire Engine’s Purpose

Fire engines are typically the first vehicle to arrive at the scene of a fire. This is because of the equipment that’s on board. Fire engines feature a pump, a water tank, and fire hoses that can unravel over long distances.

The water tank is a firefighter’s default source for water until they can find another source, like a fire hydrant. Fire departments will also stock their engine with additional nozzles, flame-retardant chemicals, and other necessities that help tackle fires upon arrival.

A Fire Truck’s Purpose

Fire trucks transport firefighting personnel and their equipment. Adequate firefighting requires a slew of reliable firefighter hand tools. You will find tactical and rescue equipment on a fire truck, such as battering rams, wall-breaching tools, axes, and other tools for forcible entry.

Firefighters that show up in this vehicle may focus on establishing civilian safety rather than diminishing the fire—a job for fire engine operators.

Fire trucks also come with ground and aerial ladders that allow firefighters to reach tricky parts of buildings on fire.

How They Relate

Though the differences between fire trucks versus fire engines are significant, they share some commonalities. Both vehicles are crucial to firefighter success. Fire trucks and engines are specialized in ways that complement one another. They function to fulfill a mission—extinguish fires and prioritize public health and safety.

Automotive, tech, and fire service industries continue to work together to find improvements for both fire vehicles. Without them, firefighters would be heavily underequipped on the scene of any fire.

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