Innovation of the Era!
Mid to Late 1900s

Innovation of the Era: The Use of Teams of Trucks

The late 1900's saw a more team truck approach to firefighting in areas that volunteer firefighters protected. Instead of one main truck, fire departments often had a pumper, a tanker and a ladder truck housed at their station. A pumper pumps the water from a hydrant, tanker or body of water through a hose onto the fire. A tanker is used to transport water to areas where there are no hydrants. This was critical at first, as pumpers did not carry any water: today most carry a limited supply of water. A ladder truck has a hydraulically operated ladder that helps the firefighters either rescue victims of fire from upper floors or fight the fire from above. The ladder truck also carries many other ladders and equipment. Functioning as a team, these trucks gave firefighters an arsenal of firefighting apparatus that brought firefighting into the modern age. Today, some N.Y. State fire companies have apparatus known as a "quad" or a "quint." This is one truck that is capable of performing multiple functions, such as pumping, water tank, carrying fire hose, aerial device and carrying ground ladders. Each one of these functions makes up one of its four (quad) or five (quint) capabilities.
This 1971 Hahn pumper can pump 1,000 gallons of water per minute. It also has two deck guns on the top of the pumper. A deck gun can be fitted to a fire truck for use in firefighting efforts. It can be aimed and operated by one firefighter and is used to deliver water or foam from outside the immediate area of fire.
Many tanker trucks, like this 1968 Sanford tanker, are equipped with fast-drain valves on the sides and back of the truck. This allows firefighters to empty thousands of gallons of water into a "portable pond" that they carry in the truck in just a few seconds. This in turn allows them to return quickly to the water source to fill up the tanker with more water and then return to the fire.