Our Kids Video Book About Fire Trucks
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All About Fire Trucks
We may not give much thought to the fire truck, except to rest in the assurance that if a fire were to break out it would be there along with its dedicated crew. However, people didn’t always have this peace-of-mind.
Before the invention of the engine and later the vehicle, fires were put out by a bucket brigade. People would literally grab buckets of water and form a long line from the water source to the fire. The constant action of trying to douse the fire, was not only (most of the time) ineffective, but it was exhausting for those involved.
Once the water pump was invented they added wheels to it. This was developed in Britain in the 1700s and was the crudest form of our modern-day fire truck. This heavy and burdensome object was powered by either steam or hand-cranked. You can imagine how tiring this would have been for the firemen to drag or push it to a blazing fire. In fact, often times by the time the crew arrived the fire had either burnt out on its own, or the firefighters were too exhausted to help.
By 1865 people were getting inventive and decided a more practical way to get to a fire (and at least have a chance at extinguishing it) was to include the use of horses. These powerful animals could pull the heavy water pumps, saving some time and energy on the part of the firefighter. It was a step up, but still needed improvement. The horses were costly and needed around two years to train before they were able to be put to work.
As technology progressed and the water pumps became more advanced (and heavier) the horses simply weren’t effective anymore. The sheer weight of this apparatus and the distance that had to be traveled left the horses slow and sluggish after only a mile or two of pulling. Enter the era of self-propelled steam powered fire engines.
It was the year of 1841 that the first steam engine was created; however, the firemen had their doubts – it was considered dangerous and unreliable. It took ten years for the steam engine to take hold, but it didn’t last long. As the years trudged on a new invention finally came to light; the motorized fire truck. By 1911 Mack Trucks were producing the fire truck and was becoming the most famous producer of this modern invention.
Today we have three types of fire trucks; the tanker, pumper and ladder trucks. This each have specific jobs they are best suited for. The biggest tanker truck carries up to 5,000 gallons of water (18,927 liters) and is great for fires where there is no hydrant available. The pumper carries large amounts of hose and attaches to the fire hydrant, while the ladder truck comes equipped with an extendable ladder. This is used to put out fires in tall buildings and to also rescue people.
The next time you hear the wail of a fire truck and watch it speed past, you can reflect upon where it all started and the great strides we have made in firefighting technology.
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