The arrival of a fire engine to a fire scene is one of the world’s most beautiful sights.
You recognize that it indicates that the fire will soon be quenched and that highly skilled individuals with exceptional training and extraordinary equipment will come to ensure the safety of lives and property.
But how much did they spend on the fire truck, and was it worthwhile to pay it with your tax dollars?
A basic fire truck or engine with minimum equipment may cost between $250,000 to $6 million, depending on the kind of vehicle. Additionally, the equipment may be more expensive than the vehicle itself.
Is this a worthwhile investment? We definitely hope so; here is all you need to know about fire trucks.
Are There Different Kinds Of Fire Trucks?
Contrary to common misconception, fire engines and fire trucks are not the same things. There are several different kinds of fire trucks, which makes finding a general price relatively difficult.
Fire engines are equipped with a water tank, an onboard water pump, a fire hose for fighting fires, and other apparatus. They are adept at extinguishing fires.
Most fire trucks are equipped with extended aerial ladders on their roofs and are often much longer than other units.
In the case of a fire, they are prepared to execute actions such as ventilation, forcible entrance, and search and rescue.
The specific equipment carried by each fire truck or engine varies depending on the location of the fire department, the number of firemen it employs, and the frequency and severity of any extraordinary occurrences.
When a fire station is situated near a major body of water or a river of substantial size, for example, it may be required to utilize specialized equipment to rescue people who have been stranded in the water.
In contrast, a local fire department in the vicinity of wildlands will need the right equipment to take on wildland/brush fires when they arise.
Larger trucks may also be outfitted with a water-spraying weapon known as a “deck gun” or “deluge gun”. This might expedite the response to a small fire and reduce the need for hoses and other equipment.
The different types of trucks include:
The basic form of the fire truck is meant to carry firefighters to the scene of the fire, provide a limited amount of water for firefighting, and provide space for firefighters’ equipment.
There are various common designs for the fire truck and engine equipment, including ladders, floodlights, fire hoses, fire extinguishers, SCBA (self-contained breathing apparatus), etc.
The bulk of the remaining equipment on board will be determined by the locations.
For example, urban fire departments often need equipment that allows them to execute highly sophisticated rescue operations and limit the damage caused by fires involving hazardous materials.
The majority of firefighting equipment you will see on the road will be fire engines. People often refer to fire trucks, but they typically imply fire engines.
In some circumstances, firefighters must be able to climb in order to do their responsibilities. This may suggest that the fire truck is outfitted with aerial equipment to assist with such operations.
Although different countries handle the utilization of this equipment in varied ways.
In most of North America, this equipment is mostly used for ventilation, fire suppression, and rescues, but in Europe, it is largely employed for rescue operations.
A “turntable ladder” is a ladder mounted on a pivot such that it mimics a turntable.
Typically, the components of a ladder are expandable, allowing for a broad range of expansion. The Magirus M68L turntable ladder has a height of 223 feet!
The normal extended ladder reach of a vehicle is around 100 feet.
Aerial Ladder Truck
A basket may be placed at the end of this vehicle’s ladder (or boom) so that a firefighter may stand and work in it.
Many contemporary platform trucks have adjustable booms that allow the basket to be positioned in a very strategic way. They are especially effective for rescue operations.
You may also see a tiller truck in the United States, which is essentially a semi-trailer with a turntable ladder. Because the tractor and trailer may be coupled or uncoupled at will and function as separate vehicles, two drivers are required.
This layout is very maneuverable despite being much longer than the majority of trucks, reaching up to 60 feet in length.
Wildland Fire Engines
The wildland fire engine is significantly different from the structural fire engine in that it is designed to cross rugged terrain and has a higher ground clearance and four-wheel drive.
Additionally, they may be capable of pumping water while in motion.
A wildland engine is often shorter and taller than a structure fire engine.
As its name suggests, this firefighting equipment is meant to deliver tremendous volumes of water (1,000 gallons or more).
In rural areas, where there may be no easy access to a fire hydrant, and where local natural sources are either unavailable or insufficient to suit the firemen’s needs, they are often seen.
It may be fitted with a pump that allows it to pump water to the hoses of other fire engines, but it is often unable to spray water directly on fires.
It is comparable in size to a wildland fire engine but smaller than a structural fire engine.
Special Use/Custom Trucks
In addition to electric fire engines, you can also acquire new, repaired, and used fire trucks for special purposes.
To get a good grip on the whole cost of the fire truck, you must also include the cost of equipment.
Prior to compiling their specifications and submitting them to manufacturers for pricing quotations, it may take months or years to thoroughly study the fire department’s needs.
Once the purchase is authorized, the delivery of the fire truck may take even longer.
How Much Does A Fire Truck Cost?
There is no standard cost for a fire engine or fire truck, assuming you would buy it brand-new and add equipment to the base price afterward.
A water tender may cost $250,000, while a pumper (engine) may cost $550,000.
In actuality, we do not know the exact price of the world’s most expensive fire engine (see below for details), but we do know that it was in the millions of dollars.
The Dover fire department estimates that it costs $840,000 to equip a pumper engine.
The most expensive “normal” fire apparatuses are those equipped with ladders, and, depending on their arrangement, may cost over $1 million apiece.
A problem that has not been accounted for is that many fire departments will need to commission electric fire vehicles in the far future, which seem to be even more expensive than diesel choices.
Are Electric Fire Trucks Expensive?
In the modern world, electric automobiles are attractive because they are anticipated to emit less pollution than vehicles driven by fossil fuels.
This website is not meant for eco-arguments, nor do we possess the knowledge to contest whether or not this assertion is entirely correct. We are able to advise you that electric fire engines are not cheap.
The Los Angeles Fire Department made a staggering $1.2 million order for its first electric fire vehicle in February 2020.
It does not resemble a regular fire engine, and if you were not paying careful attention, you may mistake it for a city bus.
Since running out of electricity at a fire scene would be more than “a bit inconvenient,” it is not totally electric, but it can function for two hours on a charge before switching to the diesel engine.
The Los Angeles fire department would like to remind you that the same opinion was voiced in 1921 when motorized fire engines replaced horse-drawn ones.
It is essential to highlight, however, that this is not the most expensive electric fire engine.
What Is The Most Expensive Fire Truck?
One fire truck is reportedly the most expensive in the world, although its price is unclear.
Why is it said to be the most expensive one ever? There are really two reasons. The first is that the Falcon 8x8 is the world’s largest fire truck, and the second is that it was designed and built in Dubai.
The emirate is notorious for its “money is no object” attitude toward the world, thus it is possible that they were unconcerned about breaking the record for buying a fire truck.
Nonetheless, it is tremendous. It has eight wheels, 900 horsepower, and a whopping 54 tons of weight, which is nearly as much as a large house.
Still, it can accelerate from 0 to 80 kilometers per hour in less than 25 seconds.
It contains 16,000 liters of water (4,225 gallons) and around 2,000 liters of foam (525 gallons) in order to respond rapidly in the case of a runaway fire.
The co-pilot may operate a roof-mounted water cannon from a high-tech cockpit, enabling the exact spraying of water to any part of a burning aircraft.
In addition to foam and dry powder, it effectively extinguishes fuel and electrical fires.
The truck is equipped with a water cannon! This is not because the Falcon 8x8 can fly, but this is Dubai, so the future version may have this capability. Rather, it prevents the fire truck from melting or catching fire by keeping the ground underneath it from igniting.
The Falcon 8x8 is the result of 2,000 engineers working in a 6 million-square-foot facility, and it is designed to be the most complete firefighting vehicle ever produced.
Certainly, it adds to the reason for the success of the Al-Khatib organization.
It was founded in 1991 and has spread to more than 100 countries with over 20,000 people over the last three decades!
How Much Does Fire Truck Equipment Cost?
Regarding the apparatus, gear, and instruments that will be installed on a fire truck, much depends on its intended function.
For instance, a fire engine at an airport is likely to have a very different look than a fire truck in a forest.
Depending on what must be installed in the car, the cost of different components might vary significantly.
For instance, replacing the traditional headlights on a vehicle with LEDs might cost up to $16,500. Or that compressor installation alone might cost up to $130,000.
We may conclude that the cost of outfitting a fire truck may sometimes outweigh the cost of the truck itself.
It is plausible that a chassis costing $250,000 may cost up to $1 million if it is equipped with all the required electronics.
It is crucial to remember that these are only estimates and should be seen as a “rough reference” rather than the actual costs of outfitting a fire truck in your region. Any true pricing should come from a potential vendor you are working with.
Should A Fire Truck Last Long?
As you already know, firefighting equipment is not cheap; thus, fire chiefs are quite worried about their longevity.
When a vehicle is replaced in a fire department with a big fleet, the replacement cost might be in the millions of dollars.
Thankfully, fire trucks are not fragile, and if properly maintained (which is often the responsibility of the fire crew that drives the truck), they may last up to twenty years on the job.
This results in an annual investment of $50,000 for a $1 million fire engine, excluding any equipment that needs to be replaced or upgraded over time.
However, another challenge for fire truck fleets is the time needed to get a replacement vehicle. They cannot wait for one to break down before promptly replacing it.
These expensive pieces of equipment are not mass-produced and they are typically kept until absolutely necessary to replace.
So they are manufactured to order, which may result in a one-year delay between placing an order and receiving the vehicle.
If you’ve ever questioned why fire chiefs are paid significantly more in a fire department, it’s due to their ability to handle these types of responsibilities such that the budget balances and the city/area has enough fire engines and trucks to provide the necessary service.
Can Anyone Buy A Fire Truck?
Yes. There are no restrictions forbidding people from acquiring a fire truck; however, it is essential to remember that this does not imply that your local government would approve of you creating a private fire department with your truck or that you may use the water cannon on random members of the public.
Even getting the fire truck onto the road might be problematic. In Pennsylvania, for example, private vehicles are prohibited from carrying emergency lights and sirens, which are common on fire engines.
Even if you could easily acquire a fire truck, you may not be able to operate it without breaking the law due to the illegality of much of the equipment that is often seen on fire engines.
If that does not stop you from acquiring a fire truck, we recommend that you purchase a used model in order to save money and avoid taking a new vehicle away from a fire department that needs it to save lives.
According to SFGate, many Californians are acquiring secondhand 1995 Japanese fire trucks for around $17,000. This is far cheaper than acquiring new fire engines.
Where are these fire trucks acquired? Craigslist, of course. Seriously.
Due to the frequency of wildfires in California in recent years, it seems that you will be permitted to organize a private firefighting squad that serves affluent citizens.
These are enormous, powerful vehicles that must carry a whole fire crew and all the necessary equipment to fight fires and other emergencies that the fire department may face every day.
It makes sense that there are several kinds of fire trucks and engines available that have the potential to cost a significant amount of money to make sure they are outfitted to save lives.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Big Is A Fire Truck?
A standard fire truck is about 40 feet long, 10 feet wide, and 12 feet tall. There is no equipment or longer aerial ladders included.
The average size of a fire engine is around 35 feet long, 9 feet wide, and 9 feet tall.
Keep in mind that any of these dimensions could vary significantly depending on the actual specifications of any particular truck or engine, since there are many variations.
Will A Fire Truck Fit On My Street?
This is a challenging topic since the room is necessary not just for the fire truck itself, but also for its maneuverability and the firefighters’ work.
This is a problem in a number of American cities. This is because American fire trucks are typically larger than those in other countries.
This problem has been addressed by San Francisco’s use of leaner, shorter vehicles with a tighter turning radius than normal American trucks.
Your local fire department is thus the best source of information about this topic.
What Is The Average Weight Of A Fire Truck?
Fully loaded, a typical standard fire truck may weigh up to or more than 60,000 pounds, while a fire engine weighs between 35,000 and 40,000 pounds.
Once a vehicle is loaded with gear, tools, hose, and water, these weights may change.
Do Fire Trucks Have Speed Restrictions?
Local laws specify fire truck speed limitations, however, it is assumed that the driver would maintain a safe speed.
This safe speed is determined by weather conditions and other variables, including the design of the vehicle and the driver’s experience with it.