Ambulances are specialized vehicles designed for transporting ill and injured people. Some ambulances also carry firefighting or rescue equipment. There are three common types of ambulance, a type 1 ambulance has a modular box mounted on a truck chassis, type 2 ambulances are built on a van chassis and type 3 ambulances have a modular box mounted on a van chassis. In the past large sedans or station wagons were used to build ambulances, these were replaced by the van and modular box style ambulances during the 1970's. In recent years modular box ambulances built on a medium duty truck chassis have started appearing and a few departments have ordered combination pumper / ambulances; fire engines with space for a gurney and attendant in the cab.
|Type 3||Medium duty chassis|
Command vehicles may be simple transportation for a fire chief or a large mobile command post built using a bus chassis. The most common vehicle is a truck or SUV with additional radios, maps, guide books and a work table set up in the rear. These vehicles are designed to allow a chief officer to set up a command post in the field for all but the most complex incidents. They also carry a small amount of emergency equipment such as a first aid kit and fire extinguisher in case they encounter an incident on the road. Some departments also provide personal vehicles for higher ranking Chief officers, small SUV's, minivans, pickups or sedans being common. These are not usually as well equipped as the dedicated vehicles used by the on duty chief. Large command vehicles generally provide interior office space for planning emergency operations, they often include computers, radios, cell phones and even satellite communications.
|Command vehicle||Command vehicle|
Crew transports or Crew Buggies are commonly used by wildland firefighting hand crews, these may be crew cab pick up trucks, passenger vans, a bus or custom built vehicles hauling 10 to 20 firefighters and their equipment. Some have 4 wheel drive but that is not required.
|Crew buggy||Crew buggy|
Utilities are vehicles that don't fall into another category, they may have some value as an emergency vehicle but generally are intended for other support tasks. This may include staff vehicles used by fire inspectors or prevention officers, the training unit (in many departments the training branch will respond to larger emergency scenes to evaluate the departments competency and procedures), or public information officers. It also includes light trucks and vans which may transport people, pull trailers or just be used as work trucks to haul stuff around. These vehicles are usually equipped with emergency lights since the personnel or equipment carried may be needed at emergency incidents.
Specialized vehicles, there are far too many special purpose vehicles to list them all, but some of the more common are Foam tenders, Hose tenders, Super Pumpers, Mobile repair trucks, Repair Trucks, Fuel trucks and Wreckers. These vehicles are often converted from older fire apparatus that has been taken out of front line service, but new vehicles are also used.
Foam tenders are vehicles that carry a large quantity of foam and equipment for flammable liquid fires, they may carry the foam in 5-50 gallon barrels or have a large tank of foam. Typically these vehicles provide foam for other vehicles but may have the ability to discharge the foam and water solution directly on the fire.
Hose tenders carry large quantities of hose, often several thousand feet of large diameter hose along with specialized equipment such as portable hydrants to help distribute the water. These vehicles are particularly common in areas with poor water distribution systems such as older cities, or areas prone to earthquakes where the water supply may be disrupted.
The Super-pumper is unique to New York City but many fire departments have pumpers with unusually large pumps for use at large fires or industrial sites.
Most fire departments rely on commercial fuel delivery trucks when they need to provide fuel to apparatus operating at major disasters but some large fire departments have their own mobile repair trucks and / or fuel trucks that can go to the fire stations to provide fueling and maintenance services in addition to their use at major incidents.
Some large fire departments have their own wreckers to retrieve fire department vehicles that are involved in accidents or that have broken down. Many of these vehicles are also designed to be used for lifting heavy objects at emergencies. Some agencies also have special wreckers for use on large bridges or tunnels that include firefighting equipment since they will be the first to arrive at car fires.