Apparatus FAQ

Q: Why are WCEC vehicles yellow and not red?

For safety. In the mix of in-town, rural, and roadside emergency situations WCEC apparatus are dispatched to, yellow provides the highest visibility at, to, and from the scene.

Q: Should I call it a fire truck or a fire engine? Is there any difference between the two?

There have traditionally been important differences between a fire engine and a fire truck. The basic difference was that a fire engine was designed to carry everything needed to put water on a fire including, most importantly,water, a fire pump, fire hose, hose appliances, and the firefighters needed to use them. A fire truck was designed to carry ladders, often including an aerial ladder, and the tools required to gain access to structure and to ventilate it.

This traditional distinction has been blurred over time as fire departments and equipment manufactures experimented with the most effcient ways of combating fires. Today, most engines carry ladders and some trucks carry a fire pump, water, and hose just as WCEC’s Truck 2-1 does.

Still, however, if you hear firefighters refer to engine company operations, they they are talking about putting water or other extinguishing agents on a fire. If they refer to truck company operations, they are talking about deploying ladders, getting access to the interior of a structure and ventilation. Truck companies also are often responsible for conducting a search of a burning structure for people who need to be rescued.

Q: How do you know which apparatus to send to an incident?

WCEC apparatus and crews are dispatched from the Union County 911 center. Initial decisions about what apparatus to send to an incident are based on preexisting response plans. The preplans take into account a number of factors including the kind of incident, the location of the incident, the time of day, and whether any other incidents are progress at the time the 911 center receives a call for help

For example, a fire call in Lewisburg borough would generally be handled by Engine 2-2 or 2-3 and Truck 2-1 based on the assumption that the number of multi-story buildings in the Borough make it likely that the services of a truck company would be required. For a fire call outside the area covered by fire hydrants Tanker 2-1 might replace the Truck on initial dispatch on the assumption that water supply could be a critical factor. EMS units are dispatched automatically to all fire calls.

Once command is established on the scene of an incident the officer in charge is free to call for such additional resources as he or she might feel are required.