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Two red and white fire trucks are parked outside their fire department bays with a bright blue sky in the background.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standard 1906, Standard for Automotive Fire Apparatus, as well as the NWCG Standards for Wildland Fire Resource Typing classifies vehicles by type and function. The standards mandate that every fire truck ‘type’ is designed with specific components and features and must carry specific gear.

Why is this important, you may wonder?

It ensures that regional terminology does not compromise prompt rescue support and resources. What may be called a “brush truck” in one community is a “wildland truck” in another. The creation of universal fire truck standards and terminology means that a fire department can request support for a specific engine type, knowing that it carries the required equipment for the emergency. As a result, fire departments can appropriately manage mutual aid and know exactly what kind of support they are getting for every emergency call.

Learn more about every type of fire truck below and find out the distinguishing characteristics that make each truck unique.

Type 1 Fire Engine

A red type 1 fire truck is parked in an urban setting with flags in the background.A Type 1 fire truck, often referred to as an engine company, engine pumper or structural firefighting truck, is the most common type of fire truck in use today.

Type 1 fire trucks are purposefully designed to support urban, rural and suburban departments because they carry all of the required NFPA firefighting equipment. These versatile vehicles are often the first on scene because they support both structural firefighting and initial Emergency Medical Service (EMS) response.

Every Type 1 truck is required to have a pump with a minimum tank size of 300 gallons, although most Type 1 trucks feature a 400- to 500-gallon water tank. Additionally, the truck must offer a minimum of 1000 Gallons Per Minute (GPM) of water transfer.

Following the standards of NFPA, Type 1 trucks are equipped at a minimum with a 2 ½ inch and 1 ½ inch thick hoses of varying lengths.

In addition, these trucks must include a full complement of ground ladders, nozzles, forcible entry equipment, rear access and egress, some level of first aid equipment and other unique items depending on the local jurisdiction. Some examples include self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), chainsaws, full EMS gear, hazmat equipment, advanced life support (ALS) equipment and additional structural or ballistic gear as needed. Typically, Type 1 fire trucks are designed to carry 3 to 4 firefighters.

A fire truck manufacturer can work with your fire department to design and configure a Type 1 engine to meet your community's unique needs.

Take a look at some recent deliveries of Type 1 fire trucks.

Type 2 Fire Engine

A red and black type 2 engine drives on a black asphalt road with green vegetation in the background. A Type 2 fire truck features many of the same specifications and tools of the Type 1 fire truck. Type 2 trucks are not as common in fire departments, but they are versatile trucks that are often found in urban and suburban applications performing vehicle accident and rescue response as a first response unit or heavy rescue engine.

Type 2 trucks may be ideal for a fire department looking for a more compact rescue engine, wet rescue or heavy-duty rescue featuring a smaller water tank and pump, but with storage capabilities that can still hold a lot of equipment. A Type 2 truck is an ideal fire truck to arrive on scene first to start fire extinguishing tasks until more support arrives.

Much like a Type 1 engine, a Type 2 engine typically carries 3 or 4 firefighters. It includes a lot of basic firefighting gear and tools, like SCBAs, circular saws, as well as many different types of specialized equipment.

Take a look at various type 2 truck configurations now.

Type 3 Fire Engine

A white type 3 fire truck is parked showing the driver’s side detail with trees in the background.

A Type 3 fire truck is often referred to as a wildland fire truck. Typically used in rural and wildland settings, a Type 3 truck includes several unique design and configuration details to match the terrain it services.

Wildland fire trucks commonly sit on a commercial 4x4 chassis and can be used as wildland urban interface vehicles. They are designed to be sleek and maneuverable with the ability to manage off-road and variable terrain. Type 3 trucks are often responding to wildfires and must be able to get as close to the fire as possible while maintaining both stability and vehicle control. The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) is often more than 26,000 lbs. and the vehicle must be equipped to carry at least 3 passengers.

NFPA standards require a Type 3 engine to have a minimum of a 500-gallon water tank and a pump capable of a minimum of 150 US gallons per minute at a pressure of 250 pounds per square inch.

Type 3 trucks can be equipped with a power-take-off (PTO) pump. A PTO pump is designed so that a vehicle can remain in motion while fighting fire simultaneously.

Many Type 3 trucks also feature an auxiliary pump in addition to the main water pump configured on a truck. The auxiliary pump can be powered by a separate diesel engine that is connected to the pump, or a hydraulic auxiliary pump can be powered by an additional PTO hydraulic circuit with its own pressure governor. This pump-and-roll technique means that a truck operator can drive the truck while crew members man the pump and hoses walking beside the moving vehicle. This is critically important to allow firefighters to follow along as forest fires and brush fires move with the weather, and to create fire lines, wetting down areas ahead of an advancing wildfire.

Here’s a closer look at some of the features of a Type 3 truck or view some of our recent deliveries.

Type 4 Fire Engine

A yellow type 4 fire truck is parked facing forward showing the front end in a rural setting. A Type 4 fire truck is very similar to a Type 3 however with a larger water tank and reduced hose capacity requirements.

According to NFPA standards, Type 4 fire trucks must carry 2 people and feature a 750-gallon water tank that offers 50 US gallons per minute of water transfer at a pressure of 100 pounds per square inch. The larger water tank means that a Type 4 truck often has lower rated pump potential and includes less hose than a Type 3 fire truck.

Type 4 trucks are often used in wildland firefighting, but with a 4-wheel drive chassis and a large water tank these vehicles can be used for emergency response.

Type 5, Type 6 and Type 7 Fire Engine

A red type-5 fire truck is parked in a lot with palm trees in the background. Type 5, Type 6 and Type 7 fire trucks are often grouped together because they feature many of the same design qualities. These vehicles are typically pick-up truck-based with 4-wheel drive on a medium duty-chassis.

The main difference between Type 5, Type 6 and Type 7 fire trucks is the difference in their maximum GVWR.

  • Type 5 fire engines have a maximum GVWR of 26000 lbs.
  • Type 6 fire engines have a maximum GVWR of 19,500 lbs.
  • Type 7 fire engines have a maximum GVWR of 14,000 lbs.

Type 5, 6 and 7 fire trucks are used in various ways depending on a fire department’s needs. For example, some trucks are used as a fire response unit and include a small EMS response kit, while other vehicles are equipped with a water tank and water pump and can provide water suppression resources before larger rigs arrive on the scene. This configuration is common in wildland environments, where they are often referred to as mini pumpers or brush trucks. When equipped with water suppression capabilities Type 5, 6 and 7 trucks typically carry a 300-gallon water tank and a small booster pump with a minimum capacity of 50 gallons per minute.

Here is an overview of the NFPA truck standards:

Engine Typing Standard
Types 1 and 2 are structure; Types 3-7 are wildland
Requirements Type 1 Type 2 Type 3 Type 4 Type 5 Type 6 Type 7
Tank Minimum Capacity (gal) 300 300 500 750 400 150 50
Pump Minimum Flow (gal/min) 1,000 500 150 50 50 50 10
At Rated Pressure (psi) 150 150 250 100 100 100 100
Hose: 2 1/2-inch 1,200 1,000 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Hose: 1 1/2-inch 500 500 1,000 300 300 300 N/A
Hose: 1-inch N/A N/A 500 300 300 300 200
Ladders per NFPA 1901 Yes Yes N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Master Stream 500 gal/min. Yes N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Pump and Roll N/A N/A Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Maximum GVWR (lb) N/A N/A N/A N/A 26,000 19,500 14,000
Personnel (minimum) 4 3 3 2 2 2 2

N/A = Not Applicable
NFPA = National Fire Protection Association
GVWR = Gross Vehicle Weight Rating

Notes:
1. All types shall meet federal, state and agency requirements for motor vehicle safety standards, including all gross vehicle weight ratings when fully loaded.
2. Type 3 engines and tactical water tenders shall be equipped with a foam proportioner system.
3. All water tenders and engine types 3 through 6 shall be able to prime and pump water from a 10 foot lift.

The development of fire truck types and requirements has been an invaluable addition to NFPA standards, providing fire departments with a universal language to help improve mutual aid and firefighting support.

Regardless of the type of truck required, Pierce Manufacturing can help support the concept, design and configuration of a custom apparatus to meet your fire department’s unique needs.

Do you have questions about the types of trucks and how they are designed and manufactured? Let us know in the comments!

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About Pierce Manufacturing
Pierce Manufacturing Inc., an Oshkosh Corporation [NYSE: OSK] company, is the leading North American manufacturer of custom fire apparatus. Products include custom and commercial pumpers, aerials, rescue trucks, wildland trucks, mini pumpers, elliptical tankers, and homeland security apparatus. In addition, Pierce designs its own foam systems and was the first company to introduce frontal airbags and the Side Roll Protection system to fire apparatus. To learn more about Pierce, visit www.piercemfg.com.

About Oshkosh Corporation

At Oshkosh (NYSE: OSK), we make innovative, mission-critical equipment to help everyday heroes advance communities around the world. Headquartered in Wisconsin, Oshkosh Corporation employs nearly 15,000 team members worldwide, all united behind a common cause: to make a difference in people’s lives. Oshkosh products can be found in more than 150 countries under the brands of JLG®, Pierce®, Oshkosh® Defense, McNeilus®, IMT®, Jerr-Dan®, Frontline™, Oshkosh® Airport Products, London™ and Pratt Miller. For more information, visit oshkoshcorp.com.

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This news release contains statements that the Company believes to be “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements other than statements of historical fact, including, without limitation, statements regarding the Company’s future financial position, business strategy, targets, projected sales, costs, earnings, capital expenditures, debt levels and cash flows, and plans and objectives of management for future operations, are forward-looking statements. When used in this news release, words such as “may,” “will,” “expect,” “intend,” “estimate,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “should,” “project” or “plan” or the negative thereof or variations thereon or similar terminology are generally intended to identify forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to risks, uncertainties, assumptions and other factors, some of which are beyond the Company’s control, which could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. These factors include the overall impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Company’s business, results of operations and financial condition; the duration and severity of the COVID-19 pandemic; actions that may be taken by governmental authorities and others to address or otherwise mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic; the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on global economies and the Company’s customers, suppliers and employees; and the cyclical nature of the Company’s Access Equipment, Commercial and Fire & Emergency markets, which are particularly impacted by the strength of U.S. and European economies and construction seasons.

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