With the introduction of enclosed cabs it soon became obvious that the apparatus was a practical place to rehab firefighters from the effects of heat and cold. Since most factory climate control equipment is not designed for a large crew cab, auxiliary units are often added. 

Engines need to carry large amounts of hose to connect to hydrants and to provide water to the crews so hose is carried on top in a large trough. The top of the vehicle is also a useful place to store large bulky equipment, so most vehicles include steps or ladders to allow access to the top of the vehicle. 

Many vehicles include hook ups for air and electricity to keep the air tanks full and the batteries charged, some include an external indicator allowing the batteries status to be checked at a glance. 

While most departments stopped letting firefighters ride on the tailboard by the late 1980's there are still times when firefighters may be working on or near the back of a moving vehicle. Because of this many pieces of fire apparatus still have a push button for a buzzer mounted near the rear step to allow firefighters to communicate with the driver. 

There are two types of siren commonly used, the electronic siren and the mechanical siren. Electronic sirens use a speaker to create an audible warning, these sirens may make a number of different sounds and many also work as a PA system. Mechanical sirens use an electric motor to turn a disc which creates the warning. An advantage to a mechanical siren is the volume of sound created, the disadvantage is a heavy electrical load.

 Water-tenders often include large dumps to off load water quickly into a tank, spray bars are also a common feature allowing the tender to be used offensively against grass fires or to water large areas for dust abatement (useful for roads, helicopter landing pads etc). 

Many pumpers include a deck gun (water cannon), this allows very large flows of water to be delivered against large fires. These are known by many names including monitors, wagon pipes, stangs, stang guns and deluge guns. Some are pre-plumbed permanent fixtures while others are removable allowing them to be used from the ground. 

Remotely operated nozzles or turrets are used on some types of apparatus, particularly crash trucks. These are usually mounted on the front or on the roof. 

Hose reels carry small diameter hose ready for use, this hose is very handy for small fires and cleaning equipment. Most of these reels carry up to 200 feet of 3/4" or 1" hard rubber hose. 


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Air conditioning unit Hose bed Hose bed Tank top
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Large folding steps Small folding step (closed) Small folding step (open) Step
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Battery indicator Backing buzzer Electronic siren Electro-mechanical siren
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Water dump (extendable) Water dump Water dump Water dump control
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Spray bar Spray bar Deck gun Deck gun
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Bumper turret Bumper turret Bumper turret Hose reel
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