Emergency rescue vehicles are some of the strongest and most clever vehicles on earth. Helicopters and ambulances, fire trucks, and boats, and planes – they all rescue people from danger and help to keep communities safe.
Here are some interesting facts about your favorite emergency vehicles.
1) Telescopic ladders, like those used on fire trucks, can stretch out to 135 feet. That’s as tall as 34 seven-year-old children, if they could stand on top of each other!
2) Until the end of the 18th century, most ships did not have lifeboats on board and relied on fishermen to rescue sailors in distress. Later, teams of horses dragged the first land-based lifeboats down the beach and into the sea.
3) The first ambulances were simple carts for carrying stretchers, with no trained medical staff to tend to the wounded. It was during Napoleon’s invasion of Italy in 1796 that a French military surgeon introduced “flying ambulances” – light, fast, one-horse vehicles that dashed onto the battlefield to pick up the wounded and took them to a hospital to be treated.
4) To combat a forest fire from above, a firefighting plane scoops up water from the sea or lakes into its huge tanks, then swoops over the flames, dropping the water. A colored chemical may be added to the water to stop it from dispersing into a fine mist and to show the pilot which areas have already been drenched.
5) Airport fires are especially dangerous because a plane may have a full tank of fuel. Airport Crash Rescue Vehicles (CRVs) are used in these cases. Their telescopic floodlights can be as bright as 30,000 candles!
6) Some fire-fighting trucks weigh more than 71 tons. That’s as heavy as 13 elephants!
7) When the astronauts on the Apollo 12 moon landing mission splashed down to earth in the Pacific Ocean in 1969, they were collected by an SH-3 Sea King helicopter, the same type of helicopter used in many disaster relief efforts.
Want to learn more? These DK books are packed full of rescues and adventures by the world’s top vehicles: