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(also fire engine, fire truck), a unit of apparatus used by a fire protection service to transport men, extinguishing agents, and equipment to the scene of a fire. In the USSR, fire trucks are produced on standard chassis; depending on conditions under which the fire apparatus are to be used, vehicles may be mounted on heavy-duty chassis or chassis designed for arctic or tropical conditions. The vehicle’s engine powers auxiliary units mounted on the apparatus, such as water equipment and compressor units.
Fire apparatus are classified as basic, special, and auxiliary. Basic apparatus include tank trucks, pumpers, motor fire engines, pumping engines, airport fire trucks, and chemical fire engines that use gas and water, aerated foam, and fire-extinguishing powders. The major function of these vehicles is to deliver fire-extinguishing agents to the scene of a fire. The most common type of basic fire apparatus is the tank truck, which brings men, equipment, and a supply of fire-extinguishing agents to the site of a fire. It also delivers water or aerated foam and transports water in areas without a water supply. The crew of a tank truck includes three to seven firemen. Gas- and water-carrying vehicles are equipped with turbojet units used for extinguishing fires at petroleum and gas wells. Aerated-foam trucks apply the foam to the center of a fire when petroleum products catch fire at petroleum refineries or in storage areas.
Special fire apparatus include technical, staff, communications, hose, and ladder vehicles. Technical service vehicles transport men and the equipment for removing smoke from a building or supplying fresh air. They also carry equipment used for breaking into buildings, tearing down buildings and obstructions, making holes in walls and roofs, and removing the injured. Hose cars, which operate in conjunction with pumping engines, are used at large fires for transporting pressure hose, laying the hose down while the vehicle travels forward, and mechanically winding and reloading the hose after a fire.
Auxiliary apparatus are used at large fires to fuel, repair, and service fire equipment. They are also used in public-education work. Fuel tankers, buses, and other general transport vehicles are used for these purposes. To distinguish them from other vehicles and give them top priority in traffic flows, apparatus are painted red (or red and white) and have blue flashing beacons and a siren.
IU. F. IAKOVENKO