Pierceopedia is an alphabetic universe of fire truck terminology. Whether you're a fire service veteran or a rookie on the squad, this interactive fire truck glossary will elevate your knowledge of fire truck features, components and parts.
A fire truck boom is an assembled component of an aerial device that allows for elevated fire fighting operations, reaching up, down, out and potentially over obstructions with articulation.
There are three types of aerial devices as defined by the NFPA, learn more here: 3 Types of Aerial Devices: A Comprehensive Overview
A broom compartment is a type of body compartment found on fire apparatus that is typically short and wide with a drop down door for easy access.
Access additional information about smart compartmentation and storage FAQs here.
Clean cab refers to a cab that contains options to reduce the exposure of fire fighters to carcinogens. There are multiple options to consider when designing a fire apparatus, including the interior and exterior. Through the CARE (Carcinogen Awareness & Reduction to Exposure) program, Pierce Manufacturing, in partnership with the Firefighter Cancer Support Network, raises awareness about the dangers of carcinogens to fire fighters.
The main objectives of clean cab environments are selecting easy-to-clean surfaces and maintaining clean air within the cab which reduces the opportunity for exposure to carcinogens.
Read more about clean cab advancements in this blog.
Crash testing is the process by which fire apparatus undergo multiple independent third party tests to ensure the vehicle meets (or exceeds) the requirements set out by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and other industry standards.
Crash testing is necessary to improve protection of the vehicle's occupants. Tests focus on the cab’s structural integrity, including determining what would happen to the cab’s structure and its occupants during an accident.
Read more about crash testing in this blog.
A final inspection is an extensive inspection that a fire truck goes through before it is released from the manufacturing facility. The robust Pierce fire truck final inspection process includes three steps—a final product evaluation, a thorough inspection with the customer and any final adjustments.
See the entire step-by-step process in our blog post here.
Learn more in our blog: Fire-Fighting Foam: What It Is and Why Fire Departments Need It
A fog nozzle is a hose nozzle that breaks up the water stream creating droplets and dispersing the water outwards.
Learn more about the different types of nozzles in our blog: Fog Tip Nozzle vs. Straight Tip Nozzle (A Highly Contentious Topic)
Aerial stabilizers are devices that stabilize the fire apparatus while the aerial ladder is in operation. When extended, the H-style aerial stabilizers form an “H” shape with the rig.
There are many inherent benefits of H-style aerial stabilizers, from a higher stabilizer strength-to-weight ratio to improved leveling capabilities on uneven ground. Learn all of the benefits of H-style aerial stabilizers in this blog post.
The hosebed is the area of the apparatus that carries a fire department's hose. Hosebeds are available in many sizes and are placed strategically on apparatus to support the requested hose sizes, types and lengths.
Hosebeds can be high or low on apparatus, and can be placed in several locations, including the rear of the apparatus, crosslays, speedlays and the front bumper.
You can learn more about pump house configurations here or dive into more strategic hose bed considerations in our blog post: Fire Truck Hose Deployment: Tips to Optimize Operational Tactics.
Idle reduction technology (IRT) is a system designed to lower the amount of wasted energy during truck idling. This technology can shut off the engine entirely when the vehicle is not in use, while also maintaining power to carry out other functions such as powering accessories and lighting. You can read more about idle reduction technology in this blog post.
Independent suspension is a type of vehicle suspension system in which wheels on the same axle can move vertically independently of each other.
Learn all about this topic by reviewing the Fire Truck Suspension Comparison Guide.
An industrial fire truck refers to a heavy-duty apparatus designed to operate at high-risk fire scenes that require extensive capabilities in terms of water and foam suppression systems. An industrial fire truck offers a much higher flow rate (3,000–10,000 GPM) than a traditional pumper truck (1,500–2,000 GPM).
Learn more about this fire truck in our blog post: Industrial Fire Truck Design, Selection and Use (With Examples).
A non-walk in Rescue fire truck provides storage for the equipment used in many types of incidents including motor vehicle accidents, hazardous material spills, and fires. There is no space in the body area for firefighters.
Read our comparative blog post to learn more: Walk-In Vs Non-Walk-In Rescue Fire Trucks
A portable water tank provides a portable water source to provide necessary water supply in non-hydrant areas.
A power takeoff is a rotary device used to provide power directly from an engine or through a transmission to power secondary functions. On a fire apparatus PTOs are used to drive water and hydraulic pumps, generators, and winches.
The Pierce PUC™ (Pierce Ultimate Configuration) is an innovative apparatus solution designed to simplify firefighters’ actions and reduce unnecessary risk. The PUC pump eliminates the pump house, moving the pump forward below the cab to reduce overall vehicular space used for fire suppression, maximize space for equipment and offer enhanced flow capabilities up to 2,000 GPM.
Learn more in this blog: Pierce Ultimate Configuration: 9 Key Benefits for Fire Departments
A rollup door is constructed of aluminum extrusions that are joined together to create a solid, yet flexible protective door. Each door rolls up on a spring-loaded roller take-up spool and disappears into the header at the top of the compartment opening.
These types of doors offer safety and operator benefits, for example, the avoidance of an open door causing a visual or physical obstruction and the ability to leave doors open in parking bays.
To learn more, read our comparative blog post: Fire Truck Doors: Hinged Vs. Roll-Up Doors
Short jacking is the process of stabilizing a ladder truck by extending aerial stabilizers on one side of the truck while deploying opposite-side stabilizers straight down. When obstacles like parked cars or curbs prevent stabilizers from being deployed on both sides of an apparatus, short jacking is a safe and necessary alternative.
Learn more about aerial stabilizers.
A sky-boom is a hydraulic arm which can be extended, raised and lowered to facilitate aerial firefighting. Sky-boom is equipped with a ladder and water and/or foam delivery system.
Learn more about sky-boom aerials.
A solid stream is an unbroken, uninterrupted, undivided flow of water typically generated using a straight-tip nozzle. A solid stream provides greater accuracy and distance, making it ideal for attacking the seat of a fire.
Learn more about water stream patterns and nozzles.
A stabilizer, also referred to as an outrigger, is a device attached to a firefighting vehicle to help prevent the overturning of the vehicle during aerial operations.
Learn more about the types of aerial stabilizers and the additional functional features which allow for fast, reliable aerial operations on the fire ground.
A stabilizer beam is the horizontally extending portion of an H-style stabilizer structure.
For a more detailed look at H-style stabilizers and the benefits they bring to the fire scene, read our blog: 4 Benefits of H-Style Aerial Stabilizers
A stabilizer foot is a permanently attached pad at the bottom of the stabilizer jack.
To learn more about aerial device features, take a look at our additional resources:
Straight stream refers to a steady level delivery of water typically generated with a straight tip nozzle.
Learn more about stream patterns in our blog.
A straight tip nozzle delivers a solid stream of water that does not change during flow. Advantages of straight tip nozzles include precision, adjustability with stacking tips and simplicity of design.
Read our nozzle comparison now: Fog Tip Nozzle vs. Straight Tip Nozzle
A supply line is a flexible large-diameter hose with fittings on both ends designed to carry water from a fire hydrant or other pressurized source to a pump supplying attack lines.
Learn more about hose types, storage and deployment here: Fire Truck Hose Deployment: Tips to Optimize Operational Tactics
Fire truck suspension systems are the cushions which carry the truck’s weight to ensure an optimal balance of stability, control and ride quality. There are several types of suspension systems available on fire apparatus, including: multi or stacked leaf spring, parabolic leaf spring, walking beam or bogie, air ride, independent suspension, or suspension combinations
Learn more about choosing the right fire truck suspension system here.
A self-contained breathing apparatus is an independent respiration device worn by rescue workers, firefighters and others to provide breathable air in an atmosphere that is toxic or otherwise immediately dangerous to life or health.
A self-contained foam system is a modular firefighting tool mounted on the truck but completely independent, which uses breathing air, nitrogen or argon for propelling a firefighting agent out of a pressurized vessel.
Learn more about CAFS (compressed air foam systems).
A tanker, also referred to as a “tender,” is a truck designed to transport a large quantity of water to a fire emergency scene. A tanker fire truck can be classified as a pumper fire apparatus or a mobile water supply, according to NFPA guidelines.
If your fire department is considering adding a tanker fire truck to its fleet, here are some simple guidelines which may be helpful.
Telematics refers to the collection and analysis of real-time data regarding the status, location and activity of a fire truck. The use of telematics allows fire departments to improve operation, trafficking and maintenance programs and reduce the total cost of truck ownership.
Learn more about the benefits of telematics.
Tender is an alternate term for a tanker, a truck designed to transport a large quantity of water to a fire emergency scene. There are many different types of tender trucks available to fire departments. See all of the options here.
A tiller fire truck is designed to have two operators. Also referred to as “tractor drawn aerial” or “hook-and-ladder,” these specialized trucks maximize maneuverability as the “tillerman” can steer the rear portion of the truck independently of the front portion.
A fire department may consider a tiller fire truck when they are looking for improved maneuverability, increased compartment space, fast set-up time, improved visibility and condensed fleet size.
See all of the benefits of tiller fire trucks.
Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is a third-party certification company which tests products against established standards. UL testing is used in fire truck manufacturing to challenge fire apparatus to meet specified NFPA 1901 or ULC-S515 standards.
A UL-certified engineer performs this testing toward the end of the manufacturing process. Fire departments often ask for certification to confirm safety requirements have been satisfied.
Learn more about the third-party testing process and how Pierce goes above and beyond industry testing standards with our Vehicle Inspection Program.
Underwriters Laboratories of Canada (UL Canada or ULC) is an independent product safety testing, certification and inspection organization which supports governmental product safety regulations and it complements federal, provincial and municipal public safety initiatives while working with other governments and international safety systems to help further international trade with adherence to local and international safety requirements.
Learn more about ULC here.
Urban firefighting refers to firefighting activities in densely populated areas with a variety of commercial and residential structures. In addition to fires, Urban firefighters respond to a range of calls, including medical emergencies, hazardous materials incidents, search and rescue and more.
What are some apparatus design and configuration considerations for urban firefighting? Take a look at our blog to learn more.
A walk-in rescue fire truck features enclosed open space in the body of the apparatus devoted to personnel. Modern walk-in rescues come in all shapes and sizes. Simpler models feature an aisle down the center of the body, providing space for firefighters to sit and recharge at the scene of an emergency, more complex versions can include compartments, laboratories, command centers, specialized equipment and more onboard.
Fire truck warning lights are highly visible, bright and often flashing or strobing lights designed to alert motorists and pedestrians of the oncoming presence of an emergency vehicle.
Learn more about industry standards and trends in apparatus lighting systems so you can make the right lighting choice for your department.
A water tower is an aerial device consisting of a power-operated boom which articulates, telescopes or both and a waterway designed to supply a large-capacity mobile elevated water stream. Water towers are commonly found in industrial fire service or within departments looking for elevated master stream capabilities.
The Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) fire truck combines the attributes of a Type 1 and Type 3 fire truck to manage areas defined by the U.S. Fire Administration as those “where human-made structures and infrastructure (e.g., cell towers, schools, water supply facilities, etc.) are in, or adjacent to, areas prone to wildfire.”
Learn more about the unique features and benefits of Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) fire trucks.