Fire trucks are a common sight in every town, but that wasn’t always the case.
In fact, the idea of an organized “fire department” didn’t emerge until after the Great Fire of London in 1666. This unbeatable fire raged for five days and destroyed 13,000 buildings before residents finally managed to put it out.
Fast-forward a few centuries, where we don’t have to worry whether the fire department is going to show up when we call. It’s an easy thing to take for granted, but have you ever stopped to consider just how innovative the fire truck really is?
Here are four fascinating facts about fire trucks you never knew.
1. Dalmatians: The Original Fire Truck Siren
Have you ever wondered why Dalmatians are synonymous with fire trucks (besides the fact that those black and white coats look sharp next to bright red)? It has less to do with color theory and more to do with tradition.
Before the engine was invented, fire trucks were pulled by teams of horses. Fire stations would release a team of Dalmatians to run ahead, bark, and “clear the path” for the horses to reach the blaze.
In effect, Dalmatians were the original “sirens” of the fire truck world!
2. There Are Three Different Types of Fire “Trucks”
We tend to call any vehicle emerging from the fire station a fire truck, but that’s not entirely accurate. These three different types of vehicles serve three different purposes:
- Pumper truck: Holds the hoses and connect to the fire hydrant
- Tanker truck: Holds a mobile source of water in case no hydrant is nearby
- Ladder truck: Holds the ladder that firefighters climb to access buildings
Sometimes the pumper and tanker features are combined into one truck called a “fire engine.” And if you hear the term “hook and ladder,” it’s not referring to the ladder truck. Rather, it’s a specialized trailer that holds extra-tall ladders.
Needless to say, fire truck maintenance companies like Wildfire Industries have their work cut out for them!
3. Fire Trucks Are Incredibly Versatile
You’d be amazed at what fire trucks and their equipment are capable of doing.
For example, ladder trucks can operate in winds as high as 50MPH. Some fire truck ladders extend a staggering 300 feet in the air. And the jet-powered Flying Eagle fire truck can cover a quarter-mile in just seven seconds.
4. Fire Trucks Are Insanely Expensive
If you think you paid a lot for your last pickup truck, be glad you didn’t have to foot the bill for a new fire truck.
Base-model fire trucks start around $350,000 or even $500,000. If you want all the bells and whistles, you’ll easily drop a cool million on a new fire truck!
Fire Trucks 101: Class Dismissed
So, which of these fun facts about fire tracks was most impressive to you?
Keep these facts in mind the next time you hear a fire truck siren go past your window. They’re also great to use for your next trivia night!
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