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Fire truck (Truck Company)

A fire truck is differentiated from a fire engine in that it has no onboard water supply. Fire trucks are instead equipped with a mix of long ladders, hydraulic platforms, additional firefighting equipment, a variety of heavy rescue tools, extrication equipment, and other emergency gear.

Wildland firefighting requires unique vehicles that can climb mountain roads, be self-reliant, and have high clearances for wheels and suspension. Wildland fire engines and wildland fire tenders may have lower capacities to carry water, but can go into environments where urban fire trucks would become stuck.

The turntable ladder is the best-known form of fire truck, but there are also rescue squads, floodlight trucks and other specialized units. A tiller truck, a semi-trailer truck carrying a turntable ladder, requires two drivers. It has separate steering wheels for front and rear wheels (the steering device for the rear is sometimes a tiller rather than a true steering wheel). This truck is often used in areas with narrow streets that prohibit longer single-vehicle trucks from entering. Use of the tiller truck is declining in the United States; however, some cities, such as Baltimore, Maryland, San Francisco, California and New York City, New York, Detroit, Michigan, Chesapeake, Virginia and Portland, Oregon, still rely heavily on them.

The terms tiller and hook and ladder are not interchangeable. Truck companies generally operate from ladder trucks. Under the general heading of ladder truck, there are many types of ladder trucks. Rear mounts, mid-mounts, tower ladders, tillers, and articulating booms are the main types. Generally, ladder trucks carry a wide assortment of ladders and hooks. Ladders have fairly obvious purposes; hooks can be used for a variety of things, but most commonly for pulling drywall or plaster walls away from framing members to expose hidden fire, and to allow access for extinguishing same. Hooks can also be used for pulling siding, breaking windows, etc. Technically, any vehicle carrying hooks and ladders could be considered a hook and ladder vehicle.

Telescopic aerial platform ladders can reach heights of over 110 feet (over 33 meters). These aerials typically have ladders integrated to a hydraulic boom. A joined additional arm gives the platform an ability to go "up-and-over" or bend over a roof. These aerials are equipped with a control unit, lighting equipment, a fixed water way, power outlets and compressed air outlets. A stretcher can be transported over the platform. Some units are even operated with remote-controlling in case of dangerous chemical fires.