The Parts of a Fire Engine


Fire engines are multipurpose vehicles with parts and equipment used solely to make every aspect of tackling a fire quick and manageable. Various types of fire engines exist—some are larger and longer for intense fire and rescue situations, while and others are more compact and best used for less catastrophic situations. Every engine comes equipped with basic parts essential for fire and rescue assistance.

Water Hose and Cannons

  • Fire engines use various apparatuses to shoot water onto a fire. Some trucks use large hoses, while others use a water cannon—also called a deck gun. Water cannons, long barrels attached to the roof, can shoot water from longer distances than hoses. Some fire engines store water for cannons and hoses in a reservoir tank; those without water storage must retrieve water from outside sources, such as a fire hydrant or lake.


  • Fire engines come equipped with ladders that range in size from taller ladders for fires high above the ground to smaller ladders for easier-to-reach places. Most fire engines have a large main ladder—usually an aerial ladder or a turntable (rotating) ladder—and smaller ladders stored in a compartment at the base of the truck. The aerial ladder is usually attached to the roof of the truck for easy access.

Other Parts

  • Fire engines have storage compartments, called lockers, for storing tools and equipment. The compartments, located on the outside of the cab and base of the truck, resemble small cabinets with handles attached. Some types of fire engines include a tillerman’s cab—an area at the top end equipped with a second steering wheel. The tillerman’s cab usually appears on longer types of fire engines and allows a second driver to help steer the truck around corners.

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