OFM - 04-07-12

Types of Apparatus & Equipment

Public Fire Safety Guidelines

Subject Coding

PFSG 04-07-12


Emergency Responses


January 1998


Types of Apparatus & Equipment


Under Review


To provide options for small municipalities to follow in determining the level of fire suppression and the types of apparatus and equipment that will be provided in the community.




• Demands on municipal resources force all communities to re-evaluate the level and nature of services they provide.

• Traditional approaches to the delivery of fire suppression with full-size triple combination pumpers may not necessarily be the most appropriate way to deliver this component of community fire safety, particularly in small communities with limited availability of firefighting personnel.

• The primary mission of all fire departments should be to ensure that the community is provided with an optimal level of fire protection in a cost effective and efficient manner. This optimal level may require a much greater emphasis on fire prevention and public education activities - with residents being responsible for protection within their own residences.

• new technology provides options

• must be appropriate to the fire suppression needs of the community

• dependent upon availability of human resources
need to work closely with neighbouring communities

• focus must still be on community fire safety initiatives

Service Delivery Options:

There are many fire protection options available to small communities in Ontario.

• The amount, type and capacities of firefighting apparatus will vary with the intended service of the vehicle.

• Pump size and amount of water, hose and equipment carried will vary with the intended type of service such as urban, suburban or rural. The total pumper capacity should not be less than the required fire flows of the community.

• The basic firefighting vehicle used in Ontario is the pumper which carries a wide variety of equipment and tools for firefighting and rescue. This basic equipment is designed to make these vehicles self-sustaining firefighting units and includes:  

o pump

o hose

o water tank

o wide selection of portable tools and appliances  

• Other types of apparatus used by the Ontario fire service include: 

o aerial ladders

o elevating platforms and aerial towers

o specialised support vehicles

§ rescue trucks

§ hazmat

§ lighting

§ air supply

§ command

o mobile water supply apparatus

o boats

o pumper/rescues

o support vehicles  

• It is not reasonable to expect that a single vehicle will provide all of the operational capabilities needed on the fireground. In those areas requiring aerial devices, a pumper/ladder combination may be used as initial attack fire apparatus. Good staffing is needed for effective use of such combination apparatus even if personnel are assigned to supporting apparatus. 

• Where a single vehicle is provided for both types of service, it should carry a minimum amount of both types of equipment because of space and load limitations. An overloaded piece of apparatus, or one with inadequate hose carrying capability must be avoided.




Package Cost1





Portable Pumps

• limited flow rates

• limited structural capability - normally used for exterior / wildland fire suppression only

• dependent upon static water sources

• no insurance reduction incentive

minimal (at least 4)


Skid Mount Firefighting Packages

• limited flow rates

• limited structural capability - normally used for exterior / wildland fire suppression only3

• limited water supply on vehicle

• normally restricted to exterior firefighting and limited rescue

• no insurance reduction incentive

minimal (at least 4)

highly dependent on type of fire attack

see fireground staffing guideline


Initial Attack / Rescue Mini-pumper

• increased flow rates

• basic level for structural firefighting capability

• greater range of equipment

• recognized for insurance reduction

highly dependent on type of fire attack

see fireground staffing guideline



• supplements pumper

• no insurance reduction incentive

minimal when used as water shuttle


Triple Combination Pumper

• basic level of equipment for structural firefighting / rescue

• greater flow rate

• increased water capacity

• additional equipment

• mobility provides flexible utilization

• recognized for insurance reduction

highly dependent on type of fire attack

see fireground staffing guideline


1 None of the costs reflect equipment accommodation, insurance, workers compensation, or annual operating costs.
Estimate reflects cost of pump, firefighter protective clothing, hose, nozzles. etc.
The capability of this type of unit is to a large extent dependent upon its design. Skid mount units with compressed air class A foam provide greater flexibility than units using water only.
Estimate reflects the cost of vehicle, pumping equipment, protective clothing, hose, nozzles, etc.
Estimate reflects cost of pump, firefighter protective clothing, hose, nozzles. etc.

Service Delivery Implications:

• Firefighting apparatus and equipment are the tools for the provision of fire suppression and other emergency services and are a critical component of

• departments must have access to appropriate tools and must have the knowledge and skills to use these tools if they are to be successful.
A relatively high percentage of fire calls are handled successfully by the first arriving suppression vehicle, provided it arrives quickly, has an adequate crew and does not have to perform multiple duties such as search and rescue or laddering as well as extinguishment.

Quality and Performance Measures:

• Adequate water supply for firefighting is established by determining minimum rates of fire flow needed to control potential fires in representative structures and exposures in the fire area

• the fire flow rates are based on estimates of the number of hose streams needed to control potential fires

• includes demand for hose streams together with water for automatic fire sprinkler systems

o significant reductions in needed fire flow often can be achieved by the installation of an approved automatic fire sprinkler system throughout the building

• fire department should predetermine fire flow needs for proposed projects

• need to co-ordinate with Building Department and Building Code requirements

o satisfactory water flows should be a condition of issuing a building permit

• see OFM Communiqué 96-022 re water supply requirements and the Ontario Building Code


Codes, Standards, and Best Practices

• Apparatus should be designed and powered adequately for the service to be carried out and the territory in which it is used.

• Pumper

o CAN/ULC-S515, Standard for Automobile Firefighting Apparatus

o CAN/ULC-S523, Standard for Light Attack Firefighting Apparatus

o NFPA 1901, Standard For Pumper Fire Apparatus

o NFPA 1902, Standard For Initial Attack Fire Apparatus

• Aerial Ladders & Elevating Platforms  

o CAN/ULC-S515, Standard for Automobile Firefighting Apparatus

o NFPA 1904, Standard For Aerial Ladder and Elevating Platform Fire Apparatus

o NFPA 1914, Standard For Testing Fire Department Aerial Devices

• Portable Pumps

NFPA 1921, Standard For Fire Department Portable Pumping Units

• Ladders 

o NFPA 1931, Standard For Fire Department Ground Ladders

o NFPA 1932, Standard on Use, Maintenance and Service Testing of Fire Department Ground Ladders

• Hose  

o NFPA 1961, Standard for Fire Hose

o NFPA 1962, Standard for the Care, Use, and Maintenance of Fire Hose, Including Connections and Nozzles

o NFPA 1963, Standards for Screw Threads and Gaskets for Fire Hose Connections

o CAN4-S543 Standard for Quick Connect Internal Lug Couplings For Fire Hose

o ULC-S513 Standard for 1.5" and 2.5" Threaded Fire Hose Couplings

o CAN/ULC-S522 Standard for Fire Extinguisher and Booster Hose

o ULC-S511 Standard For Rubber Lined Fire Hose

• Water Supply  

o NFPA 1903, Mobile Water Supply Fire Apparatus

o NFPA 1231, Standard on Water Supplies for Suburban and Rural Firefighting

Codes, Standards, and Best Practices resources available to assist in establishing local policy on this assessment are listed below. All are available at http://www.ofm.gov.on.ca. Please feel free to copy and distribute this document. We ask that the document not be altered in any way, that the Office of the Fire Marshal be credited and that the documents be used for non-commercial purposes only.
See also PFSG 04-01-12  Selecting Fire Suppression Capability



• Pumper  

o A vehicle equipped with a permanently mounted fire pump of 625 gpm (3000 L/min) rated capacity or greater, a water tank of at least 500 gal. 2300 litres), and a hose body that meet or exceed the requirements of ULC-S515. The primary purpose of this type of apparatus is to combat structural or associated fires.

• Mobile Water Supply Apparatus (Tanker, Tender)  

o A vehicle equipped with a water tank of at least 1000 gal. (3800 litres) and designed primarily for transporting (pickup, transporting and delivering) water to fire emergency scenes to be applied by other vehicles or pumping equipment.

• Initial Attack Fire Apparatus  

o A vehicle equipped with an attack pump [(250 through 750 gpm, 950 through 2650 L/min)], a water tank, and minimum hose and equipment that is designed primarily for rapid response and initiating fire attack on structural, vehicular, or vegetation fires and supporting associated fire department operations.

• Aerial Ladder & Elevating Platform Fire Apparatus 

o A vehicle equipped with a permanently mounted, power operated aerial ladder or with a passenger carrying platform attached to the uppermost boom of a series of telescoping and/or articulating booms and designed to provide rescue capability from elevated positions, and the positioning of firefighters and elevated master streams for fire suppression tasks.