The Engine companies are responsible for fire suppression, so on the engine they carry 500 gallons of water. Each engine also carries about 1,000' of 4" hose, which can be connected to a hydrant and used to run water from the hydrant to the engine once the engine's 500 gallons has diminished. The engine, also known as a pumper, has a pump on it, which can pump over 1,500 gallons a minute. Also on the engine there are several hand lines which can be taken inside the building. The standard hand line is 1 3/4" in diameter. In comparison, a garden hose is approximately 5/8 inch in diameter.
The ladder companies carry equipment that will assist with ventilation, forcible entry, search and rescue, and overhaul. Ventilation is important because it allows the superheated toxic gases to escape and also allows the firefighters inside to do their work safer and more efficiently. All ladder trucks carry chainsaws and circular saws. These saws are used to cut holes into roofs and walls.
To be able to get into a building you need the right kind of tools, therefore ladder companies carry many different types of tools. A couple examples are the hydraulic rabbit tool, which pulls a door away from the jamb, and tools to snap even the strongest padlocks. For search and rescue the technology is now available to have handheld thermal imaging cameras. These cameras allow firefighters to see through the smoke and see the victims. Our department has one on each of our companies. Overhaul is basically cleaning up and removing all the debris that was destroyed in the fire and making sure all hot spots are extinguished.