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Types Of Fire Trucks : Names & Their Functions

Types Of Fire Trucks : Names & Their Functions

We often associate a fire truck with their blazing red color, a screeching siren typical to these trucks, and a massive tank of water along with a hose.

But, many of us are not aware that several varieties of fire trucks exist throughout the world.

Although all of them are designed to contain a fire accident & rescue the victims, they have variations. Here are some of the types of fire trucks that are being used in the modern world:

Types of fire trucks : Names & Their Functions

1. Conventional Fire Trucks

These are the standard types of fire trucks used in most firefighting operations.

Many people can identify these trucks as they have appeared in some movies and other television programs.

It serves the essential purpose of carrying the firemen to the site of the fire accident.

These trucks also have the facility of carrying all the essential tools, hoses, and other equipment necessary to extinguish the fire and rescue the people and essential belongings.

These trucks come in different sizes and with different added features. It determines the kind of tools that can fit into the car and the weight it can carry.

These trucks are made with different designs to suit the variable terrains across the world.

These trucks can carry some of the essential tools, including ladders, fire extinguishers, floodlights, breathing apparatuses like oxygen masks and cylinders, thermal imaging cameras, and other rescue tools.

Another variation available within the conventional fire trucks is that some of the models contain a fixed deluge gun or the ‘master stream’ whose primary purpose is to release a stream of water with massive force at the desired spot.

2. Turntable ladder trucks

This type of fire truck gets its name because it contains a turntable at the back of the vehicle, which is used to mount a large ladder.

The turntable comes in very handy as it allows the ladder to pivot, making it easier to spray water towards the desired spot with increased efficiency.

This truck uses a giant telescopic ladder, which helps access high up from the ground and difficult to reach with a typical fire truck.

Variations of the modern-day turntable ladder fire trucks also contain a built-in function where some of the models contain a pre-piped waterway spread all across the ladder.

In contrast, other models contain an on-board supply reservoir of water that can be used when needed.

These trucks also carry many other accessories that help in many other purposes, including the aerial ladder, onboard pump, a hose, and a quad.

These trucks are ideal for situations where people are stuck in a fire accident as it can make the rescue process easier.

3. Pumper Truck

These trucks are one of the most commonly used varieties of fire trucks by fire departments worldwide.

These bulky trucks are also known as ‘triple combination pumpers.

These trucks are similar to the wagons and contain a hose to spray water, a fire pump, and a water tank to reserve the water to be used in an accident.

It is quite helpful in extinguishing a fire in the shortest time possible.

The truck provides the firefighters with the essential tools required to contain the fire and rescue them without any casualties. 

4. Heavy Rescue Vehicle

These fire trucks are specialty equipment that comes in handy for a lot of other purposes.

It is usually used for technical rescue operations and is often referred to as the ‘rescue squad.’ It is designed to carry and store many specialized types of equipment necessary for a technical rescue.

You might also see this vehicle at a major traffic collision on the highway, swift-water rescues, wildfire rescue, and at a variety of other locations.

In some instances, these vehicles might also have an emergency medical service to aid the victims.

5. Wildland Fire Engines

Since a fire accident is a universal phenomenon, fire trucks need to be designed in different ways to suit different terrains and to be able to access remote locations.

The Wildland Fire engines are designed in such a way that it can easily maneuver on challenging and rough terrains.

These trucks are used in the conventional fire trucks to extinguish fires in hilly areas with rocky terrain or a remote and inaccessible location.

Most of these vehicles contain a four-wheel-drive, which is very useful for driving in rough terrains.

These trucks also have the facility to pump water through the hoses while driving, making it very useful to extinguish wildfires and prevent them from spreading rapidly.

Since the vehicle can continuously move while the water is being spread, it can cover a larger area within a limited time and keep the firefighters safe from fire-related injuries.

6. A-Wagon

A-wagons are a specialized type of vehicles that are usually used to combat brush fires and grass fires.

These trucks are called a-wagons because these vehicles contained a separate set of auxiliary motors that released water from the pump.

Such a specialty helped the vehicle move and pump water simultaneously, which comes in very handy in containing a wildfire.

7. Tiller trucks

The tiller truck contains a specialized ladder, which is one of the essential firefighting apparatus. This turntable ladder is attached to a semi-trailer truck used to carry the ladder to the accident site.

You can consider it as a hybrid version that contains both the trailer and the tractor.

Individual variations of the tiller trucks also contain an onboard water tank fitted to the primary vehicle that can store a large amount of water.

 Tiller trucks’ exciting feature is that it has the facility to accommodate two drivers who can operate the two separate steering wheels meant for the front wheels and the rear wheels.

This division between the two wheels’ controls gives them the incredible ability to maneuver without any significant trouble.

It helps them to turn the vehicle in a small area, take a sharp turn and take it on narrow roads.

Since these trucks are massive and usually have over 50 feet, such a feature becomes very useful for increased efficiency.

It also helps to accommodate for equipment required to extinguish a fire and rescue the victims of a fire accident.

8. Quints

These fire trucks have quite a controversy attached to them. This type of fire fighting apparatus acts serves the dual purpose of being the engine and the ladder truck in case of a fire.

These trucks are designed to provide good quality service for extinguishing a fire and rescuing the victims within a limited budget and time.

These are also called the ‘Quintuple,’ derived from the five primary functions they serve. Firstly, it carries a pump in the truck.

It aerial device and a ground ladder that is built-in to help the firemen reach elevated areas and assess the damage.

It also helps other essential firefighting functions like supply master streams with the pump and hoses’ help, giving access to areas high above the ground and providing a continuous and uninterrupted water supply.

It has been around for about 100 years, and new technologies are frequently integrated into the truck to lessen the damage caused by accidents and help the firefighters with the rescue work.


Fire trucks are made to handle an unfortunate fire incident caused in the wild or public areas.

Therefore, no matter the type of fire trucks, they need to be designed to carry out the essential function of extinguishing the fire and rescuing the people or animals stuck within the fire.

These trucks need to carry the essential tools, water, and extinguishers to contain the firefighters’ fire and necessary protective gear.

The different types of these trucks are designed to cater to different needs like varying terrains, the accident’s intensity, or wild and domestic fires.

It is up to the fire departments to determine what kind of fire trucks are suitable for your locality and might even choose to possess more than one variety of these trucks.


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