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​Specialist Equipment

​There are over 200 items of equipment carried on a fire appliance, which can vary in size and complexity. We ensure that all our fire fighters know how to use this equipment in the different situations they are faced with. Some of this equipment includes:

Hose Reels

These are connected to the fire engine and are the black or yellow hoses you see stored on reels. They are used for smaller fires, or fires that do not require large volumes of water.​
Hose Jets

These are more powerful than the hose reels and pass larger quantities of water. They need 2 fire fighters to operate them as they are so powerful. One stands in front and controls the nozzle and the other stands behind and supports the front firefighter. They are attached to the back of the fire engine to connect them to the pump and water supply. 


There are four ladders stored on top of a standard fire engine. These vary in height and are used for different purposes. The 13.5 metre ladder is the longest. For safety, this requires four firefighters to carry and place it. There is also a 9 metre ladder, a short extension ladder similar to a household ladder, and a roof ladder. There is also a step ladder which firefighters use to fit smoke alarms in people's homes.
Breathing Apparatus Sets (BA)

There are 4 BA sets on board a fire engine, which fire fighters wear when dealing with incidents involving smoke or chemical fumes. They wear air cylinders on their backs which are connected by a tube to a face mask which fits over the face. It is secured by straps around the head. The sets have a gauge which firefighters check regularly to monitor how much air is left. Typically, one cyclinder will last for 30 to 35 minutes. 

BA Entry Board
Each firefighter who enters a building or confined space wearing a breathing apparatus (BA) set is recorded on a BA board. Each BA set has an identification tag with the fire fighters name. This is slotted into the board along with the time they entered into a fire. One firefighter is assigned the role of Entry Control Officer who must sign people in and out. If a firefighter gets into trouble, or is running out of air, the identification tag sounds an alarm to alert the entry control officer to take immediate action.

Road Traffic Collision (RTC) Kit

There are a number of small tools on-board a fire engine to assist firefighters with rescuing people from vehicles. These include a windscreen glass protector, sharp object covers to warn firefighters there is a hazard underneath, pedal cutters (to cut car pedals), and a knife to cut seatbelt straps.

Step blocks

These are wedged around parts of a car to prevent it from moving while firefighters are using the rescue equipment.

There are two types or airbag used for lifting - high pressure and low pressure. The low pressure airbag (pictured) is larger but the high pressure air bag can lift a greater weight.


These are used primarily for cutting people out of vehicles following a road traffic collision (RTC). They are extremely powerful with a cutting force of 95 tonnes, and can cut through metal like scissors cut through paper.

These are primarily used for releasing people trapped in their vehicle after a road traffic collision. Their powerful jaws spread to approximately 70cm. An example of their use is forcing open a car door if it cannot be opened after a crash.


Large powerful lights are situated on top of fire engines which illuminate scenes in the dark. They also carry transportable lights in lockers that can be rigged up away from the fire engine.

Chemical Protection Suits

These are gas tight suits which are worn over fire fighter's usual protective clothing and BA sets. They prevent fire fighters from being exposed to dangerous substances; solid, liquid or gas. After the incident they are hosed down or stand in a portable shower to wash any dangerous particles away.

Life Jackets

Life jackets are worn by firefighters if they are working near, in or on water.

Portable Pump

The Light Portable Pump is small and transportable. It can be moved to water supplies in the event of a fire engine being unable to reach an incident. A special hose with a filter connects the water supply to the pump. A standard hose jet is then connected from the pump. It can also be used to pump water away from an area in the same way, using a special suction hose.
Trauma Packs

All firefighters are first aid trained and carry large first aid kits on fire engines. If fire crews arrive before paramedics, they can provide emergency first aid to casualties. As part of the first aid equipment, all fire engines have a resuscitator on board.This is often used by firefighters to treat people who have suffered smoke inhalation from a fire.
Environmental Grab Pack

This contains putty to stop a leak, absorbent pads to soak up liquid and mats to put over drains to stop harmful substances from getting into the water supply. They are mainly used during chemical spill incidents.
Chimney Rods

These special rods and hoses are used for dealing with chimney fires.