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Exploring Southeast Asia’s tunnels and skyscrapers

Lap and Yee Wong stand outside the Shanghai Oriental Pearl TV Tower. The couple from Lodi took a 16-day cruise to Southeast Asia.

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Jennifer: Is there a difference between a fire engine and a fire truck?

The terms fire engine and fire truck are commonly used interchangeably; however, there are very distinct and important difference in their capabilities and roles they fulfill on emergencies, according to Deputy Fire Chief Mike McLaughlin of the Cosumnes Fire Department.

He said a fire engine, also referred to as a pumper, is equipped with a pump, water, hose, emergency medical equipment and assorted tools.

Fire engines are used to secure a water supply and pump water to extinguish fires.

They are the most common type of fire vehicle and are located in every fire station. As such, they are the first units to respond and arrive at the scene of fire, medical, hazardous materials and rescue emergencies, according to McLaughlin.

A fire truck, on the other hand, is essentially a mobile tool box and can be most easily distinguished by the 100-foot ladder mounted on top of the vehicle.

The tools it carries are bigger than those found on a fire engine, and are used to cut holes to ventilate smoke from buildings, force entry through doors and windows and conduct heavy rescue operations including cutting apart vehicles with a tool commonly known as the Jaws of Life.

There is approximately one fire truck for every eight fire engines, McLaughlin told me.

Have a question you’d like to have answered? Ask reporter Jennifer Bonnett at jenniferb@lodinews.com.

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