The Insurance Service Office of Commercial Risk Services inspects local fire departments and sets standards for community fire departments. These standards are part of what allow local insurance companies to set rates for home and business insurance. In addition to establishing minimum standards, the ISO gives local fire companies additional points for additional equipment. A higher point standing lowers the insurance rates of the entire community.
The ISO requires a 300-gallon booster tank on every fire truck. This is a polypropylene tank that holds a minimum of 300 gallons of water. Many fire trucks carry 500-gallon tanks, or even larger. Fire engines use these tanks to extinguish small fires such as trash or vehicle fires. In addition, these tanks allow the fire engine to start battling the fie as soon as it arrives on the scene.
Hoses and Nozzles
Every firetruck must carry a loose one-and-a-half-inch-diameter hose. This hose must be at least 400 feet long and have connectors on both ends. One side has a quick attachment to the fire hydrant. The other end attaches to a nozzle. A second hose pre-attached to the booster tank can double as a spare hose and can detach from the booster tank to be hooked onto the hydrant. In addition to the hose meeting minimum requirements, larger-diameter hoses can aid the firefighter by providing higher water flow. Water hoses with diameters of two-and-a-half inches or larger deliver more gallons per minute.
Nozzles and Valves
Every fire truck must carry one-and-a half-inch diameter nozzles that deliver both straight and combination streams. Every nozzle must have a shut-off valve. If firetrucks carry two-and-a-half-inch diameter hoses, they must carry nozzles to fit them as well. In addition to nozzles, a fully-equipped truck carries hose clamps and a burnt-hose jacket, for quick hose repair in the field. Every truck must carry a hydrant gate and a gated wye. The hydrant gate controls the water flow and attaches to the cuff of the fire hydrant. The gated wye attaches to the hydrant gate and splits the water flow for use by two hoses.
Heavy Stream Appliance
The heavy stream appliance concentrates the water flow and forces the water into a heavy stream. The water from the hydrant flows into the appliance and is forced out the other side at a higher pressure. Because of the high pressure, the heavy stream appliance should only be used defensively and when fire fighters are in a burning building. There are three types of heavy stream appliances: fixed, portable and elevated. The fixed appliance is usually on the fire tuck, where it stays attached. The portable device can be set up near a fire, between the hydrant and the burning building. The elevated appliance is for use from the top of ladders or fire-fighting platforms.
Fire-fighting foam is in almost every home and building. Fire extinguishers contain small amounts of the foam. This foam is especially helpful for fires water won't extinguish, such as electrical and grease fires. Fire trucks must carry 10 gallons of the foam. While this doesn't sound like much, the foam expands to as much as 20 times its original volume.
Every fire truck must carry emergency Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus with a 30-minute minimum supply of air. Extra air cylinders must also be on the truck. This gives fire fighters the ability to enter a smoke-filled building in safety. Handheld lights must also be fully charged and on the truck at all times. The truck must also have a radio mounted in the cab as well as a handheld radio for use in the field.
Every fire truck carries two ladders: a 12- to 14-foot stationary ladder and an extendable 24-foot ladder.
- Photo Credit fire truck image by charles taylor from Fotolia.com
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