Few vehicles other than a fire truck can grab a child's attention, with its blaring horn and flashing lights. Incorporate some fun facts about fire trucks, while discussing community helpers or fire safety with your child. You could even round out this topic with a trip to a fire station to check out these vehicular beasts.
Types of Fire Trucks
The next time you see a fire truck, see if you can identify which kind of fire you’re seeing. Three main types of fire trucks are among those likely to show up at a fire. Pumper trucks are about 30 feet long and hold a smaller amount of water. These are built to pump water from an outside source, like from a fire hydrant, swimming pool or lake. Tanker trucks carry large amounts of water to the scene. And here's an amazing fun fact: sometimes, you can find more than 1,000 gallons of water in one of these tanker trucks. It is possible to find a pumper-tanker fire truck, which combine both trucks into one truck. Did you know that ladder trucks are longer than the other two types of trucks, and measure between 40 and 50 feet long? You've probably seen those long, telescopic ladders on the ladder trucks so firefighters can enter upper floors of a building, such as an office building or an apartment building.
Firefighters keep lots of cool stuff in their toolboxes on the fire trucks. Besides hose nozzles, fire hydrant wrenches, axes and every other type of tool you can think of, they also bring a tool called the “Jaws of Life.” This is an amazing safety tool that can help free a victim trapped in a car or building. This piece of equipment is handheld and can cut through wood and steel like a heavy-duty scissors and then spread the material open to allow the fireman to get inside.
Check out the different types of hoses on a fire truck. The first hose a fireman will usually grab is the lightweight crosslay hose that is neatly folded on the fire truck and directly connected to the pump panel on the truck. Kids love looking at all the coils on the crosslay hose. But did you know this fun fact? As the fireman carries these hoses toward the fire scene, he strategically lays them out on the ground in a specific crossed pattern before turning on the water. If he just carelessly tosses the hose on the ground, it can get kinked or snagged, preventing full water pressure and flow. Another amazing fun fact: these crosslay hoses can be 200 feet long, 1 and 1/2 inches in diameter and can send out 95 gallons of water per minute. There are also booster lines, deluge guns, preconnects, curb jumpers and small hose packs. Each has a different diameter, use and water output.
Those fire trucks have to be strong and heavy-duty to be able to haul all that stuff around, including the water, firemen and their heavy gear. Did you know that with all the equipment a fireman has to wear that each set weighs about 60 pounds? The reflective gear that you see a fireman wearing not only is heavy and looks cool, it can do some pretty neat stuff, too. And here's a super safety fact: the jacket and pants that you see him wearing can withstand up to 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit! The reflective stripes are so his fellow firemen can find him when it is dark or smoky inside. Those big, noisy tanks that he wears have oxygen in them so the fireman can breathe.
Fire trucks can haul up to eight fire fighters, who sit in the cab of the fire truck with their equipment. No longer do firefighters ride on the back of the fire truck or outside the fire truck -- as you may have seen in movies -- although long ago, firefighters did exactly that, but it was dangerous. As the design of fire trucks evolved, so did their safety, and fire fighters no longer need to hang on the outside of their fire trucks.