1. #1
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    Feb 2012

    Default Difference between Engine and Wagon?

    Is there any difference between an engine and a wagon? Noticed that Bedford FD in Virginia has an engine and a wagon and was wondering if there is a difference between the two.

  2. #2
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    BoxAlarm187's Avatar
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    Jan 2003


    It's an easy coast thing. The term is left over from the two-piece engine company days when there was an engine and a hose wagon that would respond together. Although few, if any, departments still use this operating method, the terms have lingered.

    BFD uses the terms engine, wagon, and pumper to designate the three different pumping apparatus they have. My VFD uses the term wagon for an engine that has been placed in reserve status.
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  3. #3
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    Apr 2004
    Bossier Parrish, Louisiana


    If you look on You-tube there is a very interesting video from the 1949 that was put out by the LA City Fire Department that talks about, among many other things, engines and wagons. The wagon would lay a supply line from the hydrant, go to the fire, and deploy attack lines. The engine would pump the hydrant.

    The video is called called "Your Fire department", and can be found by typing in lafd your fire department. If you have the time, it's really very interesting, especially if you are a firefighting history buff..
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 01-19-2013 at 08:31 AM.
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    Jan 2013


    With the exception of one county, the wagon designation is no longer used in my area.

    When the term was in use, it was a designation for a second engine running out of a station. For example, volunteer fire company 21 at fire station 21 would have Engine 21 and Wagon 21, ladder 21, ambulance 21, etc.

    One month Engine 21 would be the first out pumper, and Wagon 21 first out the next. The rotation would continue to cut down on wear and mileage. Some departments would have 4 to 5 engines in a house and rotate everyone of them to front line.

    In the county I mentioned that still uses the wagon designation, some fire stations with multiple engines will have engine, reserve engine, wagon, and rescue engine.

    Under the new regional standards, station 21 would now have Engine 21, Engine 21B, etc.

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