Fire apparatus carry large amounts of equipment. Older vehicles carried the most of their equipment exposed for easy access. Modern fire apparatus carries more equipment and much of it is stored inside the cab or compartments in the body, but even the most modern vehicles still carry a large amount of this equipment on the exterior.
Hose is one of the most common items carried externally. On newer vehicles it often has a cover to protect it from the elements but the covers are usually open at the rear to allow it to be fed off the truck quickly. There are three common methods of loading hose, the flat load, accordion load and the horse shoe load. The flatload is the most common style of load on current vehicles since the hose is usually made of mildew resistant synthetic materials and is often covered. The horseshoe and accordion loads were popular into the early 1980's when cotton jacketed hose was used since it provided better water drainage and air flow around the hose. Preconnected attack lines are now a fairly standard feature but these only started to appear in the late 1960's and early 70's. Prior to this many departments used a finish load, this was a pre-assembled collection of hose and nozzle connected to the end of a hose load, it was generally a smaller diameter hose than the main load, often two finish loads were connected with a wye. These loads are still occasionally seen today as they are useful when the engine can not park close the the fire location.
It is very common to mount tools on the outside of the vehicle, this is often done so that firefighters can grab the tools as they exit the vehicle. Other items like ladders and portable water tanks are often mounted externally because of their size.
Breathing apparatus is generally stored in the cab and special seats are available allowing firefighters to wear the SCBA while riding in the seat. The drivers breathing apparatus is often stored in a compartment near the cab. Not all apparatus provide easy mounting for breathing apparatus in the cab, so another popular place is in a compartment. This is particularly common in commercial cab apparatus and smaller vehicles, it was also a common practice on vehicles designed in the 1960's and 70's since this was the period when the use of breathing apparatus was becoming more of an accepted standard but its use was not universal. In addition to the breathing apparatus, vehicles are supposed to carry at least one extra air cylinder for each air pack. Some vehicles have small doors covering storage tubes for air cylinders, the space above the wheel wells is a popular for this type of storage.
Some departments have a special key allowing them to access commercial buildings without forcing entry. These keys are stored in a code protected box generally kept in the cab of a vehicle. The light mounted on the box indicates the key has been removed.
|Flat hose load||Accordion hose load||Horseshoe hose load||Finish load|
|Flat load||Accordion load||Horseshoe load||Hose
(5" / 3" / 3" / 5")
(2.5" / 5" / 1.75")
(suction / 3" / 3")
(suction / 2.5" / 3" / 5" / suction)
(2.5" / 3" / 1.75" / 3")
|Axe mount||Axe mount||Irons mount||Sledge hammer mount|
|Pike pole mount||Pike pole mount||Pike pole / attic ladder mount||Wildland tools mounted|
|Saw Mount||Saw Mount||Ventilation fan||Ventilation fan|
|Manifold mount||Nozzle mounts||Portable monitor mount||Portable monitor mount|
|Folding tank mount||Folding tank mount||Padded ladder cover||Ladder side mount|
|Ladder / draft hose side mount||Ladder side mount||Ladder side mount||Combination ladder top mount|
|Ladder / draft hose side mount||Ladder / pike pole internal rear mount||Ladder open rear mount||Ladder / pike pole internal rear mount|
|Ladder side mount hydraulic rack (stowed)||Ladder side mount hydraulic rack (down)||Ladder top mount hydraulic rack (stowed)||Ladder top mount hydraulic rack (down)|
|Ladder top mount||Tripod mount||SCBA compartment mount||SCBA compartment mount|
|SCBA compartment door mount||SCBA seat mount||SCBA seat mount||SCBA seat mount|
|Spare SCBA bottle wheel mount||Key lock panel|