Five Fantastic Fire Truck Factoids

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If your favorite word starts with F and ends in K, we have five fast facts just for you today. 

Everyone loves fire trucks. They come to the rescue when we need them carrying the people who save our lives and property. Fire trucks have some amazing capabilities and a long and interesting history. The first fire trucks were used in ancient Rome.

Rear Steering

Fire trucks are big vehicles. To help them maneuver on tight city streets, the ladder trucks have what is called by the fire truck industry, a tiller. The truck can actually steer from both ends. In fact, the tiller operator will often turn the tiller in the same direction as the front wheel to “drift” the truck sideways in traffic. Tiller operators go to a special school to learn the proper techniques.

Fun fact: Tiller trucks can’t be started in the forward cab unless the tiller operator is in the rear seat with his foot on a special safety pedal.

Bestride doesn’t have fire trucks for sale, we do have cars that are painted fire-engine red. Start your search here. 

Firewagon Change In Hockey

Hockey is an unusual sport in many ways. One way that it differs from all other pro team sports is that the players can enter and leave the playing surface on their own while play is underway. This is called “Changing on the fly.” Announcer Doc Emmerick often uses an old-school phrase for a full line change on the fly. He will announce that the team is attempting to execute a “firewagon change.” The term is derived from the old name in Canada for a fire truck, which was originally a wagon pulled by horses. When the wagon would arrive, all of the firefighters would jump off the sides at one time. Hence, the name in hockey for a line change where many players at once jump over the boards to enter the ice surface.  Hockey loves its traditions (it’s a sweater, not a jersey and it’s a dressing room, not a locker room.)

The First Fire Trucks Were Not Public, But Private

Suggest using private companies for public work today and you had better be prepared for a political fight. However, the first fire trucks were not publically operated. Early English fire departments were set up by insurance companies and they would ignore burning buildings not holding policies. Early fire trucks were equipped with crude hand-pumps. The Smithsonian reports that in early America firemen would often jump from the truck and enter a building to try to salvage belongings, particularly beds. They carried special tools to disassemble the beds called bed keys.

Fire Trucks Have Hoses That Can Shoot Through Walls

Firefighting is becoming more and more advanced and technology is helping to shape firefighting strategy. The new Pyrolance hose is attached to a fire truck and can allow a firefighter to shoot through wooden, metallic, or brick walls. The idea is to use the wall as a heat shield and then insert the water through an aperture the high-pressure water jet creates.

A Firetruck Has a Cool Pump

The ladder trucks may have the cool tiller, but the pump trucks are the backbones of a fire detail. The Pierce Pumper shown at the top of our story packs a Hale Midship centrifugal pump capable of 1,500 GPM. That would drain your backyard swimming pool in about 10 minutes. The pump is so heavy-duty its gearbox is capable of handling 16,000 lb-ft of torque. That is roughly four times the torque produced by a Ford F-150 engine.

If you have a fun fire truck factoid please share it in the comments section wherever you find this story.