Firefighting can be divided into two methods: Interior attack and outside defensive mode. When firefighter staffing is adequate, and a fire is attacked early, firefighters go for the interior attack. They may ventilate the building at the proper time and get inside with self-contained breathing apparatus to reach the seat of the fire. They may initially hit the fire from the outside with a powerful stream of water, then progress with an interior attack. Ultimately, the fire is knocked and fire loss is stopped.
[See also CHICAGO FIRE DEPARTMENT Definitions ...]
Out of control fires are fought defensively because they are too dangerous to fight with an interior attack. They get beyond the control of an interior attack because they spread for a long time undetected, they are fanned by high winds, or they are initiated by a spectacular ignition or unusual event, such as a fuel tank explosion or plane crash, etc. Fire loss usually involves severe or total destruction of the structure.
Engine is a fire apparatus vehicle with the main purpose of pumping water. Modern fire engines carry ladders, pike poles, axes and cutting equipment, halligan bars, fire extinguishers, ventilating equipment, floodlights, hose ramps, self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), and general tools. A fire engine often has a deck gun for streaming heavy water flow on a fire in defensive mode. Some fire engines are considered ALS Engines (or Advanced Life Support Engines) and are staffed by firefighter/paramedics that respond to emergency medical calls with rescue ambulances. Some engines also carry some amount of rescue tools, such as the Hurst "Jaws of Life" spreaders or cutters.
Squad or Rescue Squad
Tanker or Tender
Mobile Ventilation Unit
Haz Mat Vehicle
Airport Crash Tender