Fire Engine Vs. Fire Truck: What’s The Difference?

Most people believe that a fire truck and a fire engine are the same, but they are different types of vehicles! 

A fire truck and a fire engine have many differences. For instance, fire engines are usually at the scene before a fire truck and are full of pumps and water tanks.Fire engines are also needed to put out fires, but fire trucks are needed to save victims and control fires if they turn into larger ones. Fire trucks are also equipped with ventilation equipment, rescue gear, and ladders.

We’ll cover the differences between the two vehicles in more detail below. 

Keep reading to learn more about fire trucks and fire engines!

Fire Engine Vs. Fire Truck: What's The Difference?

Fire Engines

Fire engines are usually red and are occasionally referred to as pumpers. Firefighters will travel in a fire engine, which is also equipped with equipment the crew needs to extinguish fires. 

The gear includes emergency lighting, several hoses, a water tank, jets, and a pump capable of handling over 1,500 gallons per minute. 

Firefighters will spray the fire with water from the tank. A pump operator may also link to another water source, like a fire hydrant, so the tanks don’t fully empty.

Fire engines will also have radios and mobile technology, allowing the firefighters to talk to people back at the station or on the scene.

Fire Trucks

Fire trucks do resemble fire engines, but they don’t always have water pumps. Fire trucks aren’t needed to put out fires, but they are mainly needed to assist victims.

Also known as truckies, the fire truck crew will travel in a fire truck toward the scene. If the fighters from the fire engine need assistance, the crew from the fire truck can help. 

Fire truck crews will work on rescuing victims so the fire engine crew can work solely on putting out the blaze. 

Fire truck workers can also deliver ventilation that makes entering the burning building safer.

This also makes it easier for any victims to get out of the building. The truckies will also have tools designed for forced entry into a building. 

Main Differences Between Fire Trucks And Fire Engines

Now we can look at the main differences between these two vehicles.

Fire Engines Arrive Before Fire Trucks

Both fire trucks and fire engines are important, but fire engines will normally arrive first to start putting out the blaze. Fire trucks will arrive less than a few minutes afterward.

Fire Engines Extinguish The Blaze, Fire Trucks Will Rescue

Fire engines will target high-pressure water streams on a fire to put it out. 

Firefighters on a truck will have more tasks. They can focus on saving victims in the vicinity.

The crew can also ventilate the building or the roof to stop the fire from spreading. This also makes it easier to enter and exit the building. 

If a fire has grown out of control and firefighters on the engine are finding it difficult to put it out, the fire truck crew will assist with the job until it’s restrained.

Both Vehicles Have Different Gear

As the two crews have different tasks, they will need different types of gear. 

Fire trucks will have an assortment of rescue tools. This includes hydraulic ladders to get to victims on higher ground.

They’ll also have thermal imaging cameras to see if a building is safe to enter, as well as to check if any victims are inside a building.

A fire truck will also house several self-contained breathing apparatus devices (SCBA). These allow firefighters to enter a burning building without breathing in dangerous smoke and chemicals from the environment.

Firefighters on a fire engine will need different equipment. This includes high-capacity water tanks, long water hoses, and high-pressure water pumps. 

When A Fire Engine Is Needed Vs A Fire Truck

Fire Engine

Here are some potential scenarios that may call for one type of vehicle over the other.

If People Are In A Burning Building - A Fire Truck

If there are victims on the scene, you’ll need a fire truck for the rescue, along with a fire engine to extinguish the flames.

Firefighters from the fire truck will use the necessary tools to enter the building, move rubble, and save the victims from the building.

If A Structure Is On Fire - A Fire Engine

If a building is on fire, but there aren’t any victims on the scene, a fire engine is the only vehicle needed for a job.

Firefighters on an engine will arrive, then use their water tanks and aim high-capacity hoses to put out a fire before it becomes worse.

If Victims Are Stuck Inside - A Fire Truck

Victims in a blazing building will attempt to get out of a building once they see or smell a fire, but this isn’t always possible. 

People can get stuck under falling debris, while others may become trapped in rooms without visible exits.

Some individuals can become lost inside an unfamiliar building and will struggle to get out. 

In this case, a fire truck crew will go into the structure and use infrared cameras to locate the victims.

They will then take them out of the building while fighters on the fire engine work on putting the blaze out.

If A Blaze Is Out Of Control - A Fire Engine And A Fire Truck

Fires can easily get out of control. One that might seem small can quickly grow large if the flames locate another ignition point. 

If this is the case, the firefighters that came on the fire engine may need extra help to extinguish the blaze. The fire truck crew will work with the other team to help get the fire under control and eventually extinguished.

The Bottom Line

Fire trucks and fire engines may look similar, but they are needed for different purposes. 

Fire engines are equipped with gear to put the fire out, including water tanks, pumps, and hoses. Fire trucks are full of rescue and ventilation equipment to safely and efficiently rescue victims. 

Even though both vehicles are different, a fire truck crew may join a fire engine crew if a fire becomes out of control. 

Having two types of fire crews makes the process of saving lives and extinguishing fires as efficient as possible.