The Los Angeles Fire Department protects a diverse and challenging community. The City of Los Angeles is fairly unique, with airports, harbors, skyscrapers, dense neighborhoods (179 in total!), not to mention rolling hillsides and brush-filled canyons. To protect all of that, a wide variety of specialized firefighting and life safety apparatus is required.



The Los Angeles Fire Department's Command Teams are able to move anywhere in the city rapidly (and safely) via their mobile command post sedans. Major emergencies may require the use of the department's mobile command post rigs.

Division Commander Sedan
These are similar in terms of equipment and setup to Battalion Sedans. Traditionally, these sedans have been staffed by an Assistant Chief responsible for one of the city's fire protection divisions, and a "command team" Staff Assistant. Together, the command team is responsible for the administrative and fire/emergency suppression requirements of a large geographic region of the City of Los Angeles.

When a fire requires multiple additional requests for resources, a Division Chief may head into any region of the City of Los Angeles to provide command and control supervision.

Battalion Commander Sedan
Each Battalion Chief in the LAFD is responsible for a group of fire stations in a geographic area, typically 20 - 30 square miles in size. There are between five and eight fire stations in a Battalion. The Battalion Chief is responsible for fire/emergency suppression/mitigation within his/her Battalion. A "command team" Staff Assistant supports the B/C with critical tracking and resource management functions at any emergency.

Command Apparatus
The apparatus is used for major incidents within the City of Los Angeles or on request at a unified command post when collaborating with other departments and agencies. The Command Trailers include a wide array of equipment used for planning, communications, and incident management. An Incident Commander (IC) will typically be the person managing a mobile facility such as this.

Command Support Trailer
This apparatus travels with the Command Rig to major incidents. Inside, a series of LAFD officers manage planning, communications, GIS mapping, and other critical functions that support the officers at the Command Post. Captains from the Critical Incident Planning and Training Section typically will man this trailer during a significant incident.




The core series of emergency resources for the LAFD involve fire and life safety rescue apparatus. When fire, earthquake, traffic accidents, or other emergencies occur, the Department's fire and rescue resources are called into action. The above image is of one of the Department's Urban Search & Rescue apparatus.

LAFD Triple Combination Fire Engine
LAFD Engine Company - all LAFD Engines are Triple Combination apparatus, meaning they can pump water, carry hose, and have a water tank. Commonly called, "triples" by firefighters, these powerful fire engines are the core of the city's fire defense system. LAFD engines are designed specifically for the diverse needs of the City of Los Angeles. They are housed in single engine fire stations, as well as at task force stations with companion truck companies. This example is a brand new 2010 KME, one of a series of new KME apparatus, designed and built exclusively for the LAFD. These KME triples are unlike any built for other agencies, including but not limited to the LAcFD. Special features include 4-wheel disc brakes, a brush box (for wildfire equipment) that is built in to the unit (rather than sitting on top, creating more drag and reducing fuel efficiency), and advanced lighting and monitor controls.

LAFD Truck Company
The LAFD operates a number of Aerial Ladder Fire Engines - called "Truck Companies" in LA firefighter jargon. However, these powerful apparatus are rarely assigned to run on their own. Typically, a Truck Company runs with a single Engine in a configuration called a "Light Force." Or, when running with two engines, the term "Task Force" is used. The Task Force concept was developed during the Watts Riots in 1965 as a way for firefighters to have flexibility in the jobs they performed. Today, the Task Force and Light Force concepts continue to have merit, but their role may evolve as the department continues to find new methods of operating efficiently and effectively.

LAFD Task Force
The Task Force concept was developed during the Watts Riots in 1965. Essentially, a group of fire apparatus run together to incidents, thereby allowing the firefighters to be flexible relative to addressing the emergency they've been called to. When a Truck runs with one engine, it is referred to as a Light Force. A Light Force is used for a wide array of emergencies, ranging from structure fires to traffic accidents, to cardiac arrest (manpower is very important for heart-related emergencies). Firefighters rotate from position to position, so they are familiar with every "spot" on every rig and the related job descriptions and requirements. The role of the task force may evolve further, as the LAFD seeks to improve its ability to respond effectively to any type of incident.

LAFD Urban Search and Rescue
This rig is commonly called a U-SAR which is short for Urban Search and Rescue. There are US&R rigs stationed strategically around the City of Los Angeles. These apparatus are critical assets during an earthquake, a train or aircraft accident, or in any situation where people may be trapped. Common uses are for rescue work in trench collapses and significant traffic accidents. A US&R is essentially a huge toolbox operated by "US&R Certified" firefighters. The US&R mission is in alignment with FEMA's rescue initiatives as well. Every week, firefighters examine and refit every single US&R in the city.

HazMat Apparatus
In the event of a chemical or dangerous toxin emergencies, or a bomb threat, the LAFD will dispatch a HazMat apparatus. Strategically stationed around the City of Los Angeles, these specialized firefighting rigs are an essential component of every L.A. resident's safety.

LAFD Heavy Rescue
The LAFD operates this specialized tow-truck as a "Heavy Rescue" out of Fire Station 56 in the LA community of Silverlake. This mammoth apparatus is useful in a wide variety of situations, including but not limited to righting overturned big rigs, pulling crushed vehicles apart, and lifting heavy objects. One of the things the firefighters who operate the Heavy-U (the rig used to be called a Heavy Utility), is their district. "What's my first-in district?" a firefighter from 56s asks. "What is it?" you reply. He smiles and says, "the city."

LAFD Airport Crash Rig
This is one of the very specialized apparatus stationed at airports in Los Angeles. Originally called "Crash Rigs," these fire engines are specifically designed to quickly suppress fire in the event of an aircraft accident. These examples are stationed at FS114 at Van Nuys Airport. Today, fire suppression apparatus are referred to as ARFF rigs, or Aircraft Rescue Firefighting apparatus.  Before any LAFD members can join an ARFF company, they must successfully complete training in ARFF practices that meet OSFM and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1003, Standard for Airport Fire Fighter Professional Qualifications.

LAFD Fire Boat
LAFD Fireboat #2 - the Warner L. Lawrence. Named for one of the department's most innovative officers, Fireboat #2 is one of the largest and most technologically advanced fireboats in the world. It is an omni-directional vessel driven by two Voith Schneider Propellers type 26 GII/165-AE 45. The Warner Lawrence has the capability to pump up to 38,000 US gallons per minute (2.397 m3/s) up to 400 feet (121.9 m) in the air. It's hull design is based on that of a tug boat, but there are very few tug boats in the world that can compete the Fireboat #2!

Swift Water Rescue
More than just apparatus, the LAFD's Swift Water Rescue Team is a combination of firefighters with special training and their specialized gear. They are dispatched to floods, or situations where a person (or animal) is trapped in rushing water. Although the LA River that runs through Los Angeles is often just a trickle of water through a concrete culvert, it does occasionally fill with rapidly moving water and as such, presents a serious life hazard to people and pets. The Swift Water Rescue Team uses boats, floats and jet skis along with other gear to help rescue people and animals.

LAFD Helicopter
Air Operations - the LAFD operates a top-flight Air Operations Unit at Fire Station 114 adjacent to Van Nuys Airport. The flight line typically has seven helicopters ready for deployment as both air ambulance and fire attack resources. This is an example of one of the newer ships in the fleet - an AW139. Its Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6C-67C turbines, together with a state-of-the-art 5-bladed main rotor, deliver a high cruise speed even in demanding conditions at all weights. They deliver an outstanding power to weight ratio, which allows Category “A” performance capabilities with no limitations in a wide range of operating conditions including ‘hot and high’. Leading edge technology includes a Honeywell Primus Epic fully integrated avionics system, a 4-axis digital AFCS and large flat panel colour displays in the cockpit. As a result of the new design approach the AW139 uses fewer components, benefits from integrated avionics and provides easy accessibility to all systems for simplified maintenance tasks. The LAFD's examples are designed for both air ambulance and fire suppression roles. Note the 350 gallon water tank attached to the bottom of the airship.

LAFD Foam Apparatus
Foam Tender - this is one of the more unusual apparatus operated by the Los Angeles Fire Department. Using a specialized foam combined with water, this rig is extremely useful when suppressing fires that are resistant to traditional water-based operations.

Class A foams were developed in mid 1980s and were used when suppressing wildfires. Class A foams lower the surface tension of the water which assists in the wetting and saturation of Class A fuels with water. This aids fire suppression and can prevent reignition. Favorable experiences led to its acceptance for fighting other types of fires, including those that occur in vehicles and structures.

Class B foams are used for more dangerous fires, where the application of a Class A foam might trigger an unexpected result. Specifically, Class B foams are designed for flammable liquid fires, such as gasoline or jet fuel. Class A foams are not designed to contain the explosive vapors produced by flammable liquids. Class B foams have two major subtypes: Synthetic foams or Protein foams.




More than 85% of the Department's daily emergency responses are related to Emergency Medicine Services. The LAFD transports, on average, more than 500 people on every day to local hospitals. Our resources for EMS are a key component of the LAFD's emergency resource pool.

EMS Supervisor
EMS Supervisor's SUV - in the Los Angeles Fire Department, EMS Captain's play a critical role in serious rescue or medical related situations. An example of such an incident would be a Multiple Casualty Incident, or MCI. All EMS resources within a given area report indirectly to the respective EMS Captain, although primary responsibility remains with the individual company commanders (at each Fire Station). In today's complex and challenging financial situation, EMS Captains have been given a much wider responsibility, often covering three or four Battalions. It's more work with fewer resources, but the public's safety remains the department's singular priority. Due to budget restraints, there are currently two EMS supervisors in each Division of the City of Los Angeles.

Basic Life Support (BLS) Ambulance
These vehicles are also referred to as "RAs" which is short for Rescue Ambulances. The numeric distinction between an ALS (Advanced Life Support) and BLS ambulance is easily established visually. All LAFD BLS Rescues are numbered in the "800" series. So, Rescue 827 is a BLS Ambulance, while Rescue 27 is an ALS Ambulance. If a Fire station is numbered above 100, a "9" is used instead. So the BLS Ambulance for Fire Station 106 is Rescue 906. All BLS Ambulances are staffed by firefighters who rotate through as part of their normal assignments. All LAFD members are EMT-D certified. EMT-D stands for Emergency Medical Technician - Defibrillator, meaning that LAFD firefighters are trained in pre-hospital medical assessment and care with the added skill of operating an automatic external defibrillator.

ALS (Advanced Life Support) Rescue Ambulance
These vehicles are often referred to as "RAs" rather than the FEMA-standard MEDIC used by some departments. LAFD ALS RAs are staffed by two Firefighter/Paramedics. The numeric distinction between an ALS and BLS (Basic Life Support) ambulance is easily established visually. All LAFD BLS Rescues are numbered in the "800" series. So, Rescue 827 is a BLS Ambulance, while Rescue 27 is an ALS Ambulance. Some stations have more than one ALS ambulance. As an example, Fire Station 9 houses RA 9 and RA 209.




The Department maintains a fleet of apparatus to aid our EMS, fire and rescue resources with rehab for firefighters, air replenishment, and demolition of dangerous and/or damaged buildings beyond repair.

Rehabilitation & Air Tender (RAT) Apparatus
During major emergencies, firefighters will need to replace their air bottles (used to breath), not to mention resting between heavy periods of exposure to fire, heat and smoke. These apparatus, affectionately called "RATS," are used at dangerous and significant incidents. In addition to carrying air bottles, this apparatus is designed to help companies that have been actively involved in firefighting to refresh and rehabilitate. There is even an on-board toilet, if facilities for firefighters aren't available elsewhere.

LAFD Water Tender Apparatus
The LAFD utilizes water tenders to support firefighting in situations where water supply may be impacted. This is a new example of an LAFD Water Tender. This is one of two identical 2500 gallon units built to demanding Los Angeles Fire Department specifications by KME (Kovatch) on 2010 Peterbilt chassis. And, while assigned to a specific fire station, these water tenders service the entire City of Los Angeles. They are also available for mutual aid responses to communities that collaborate and cooperate with the LAFD.

Tractor Company
The Los Angeles Fire Department utilizes heavy duty bulldozers and tractors for a variety of uses, ranging from pulling down severely damaged structures, to creating a fire break in the midst of a wildfire. Each member of the LAFD Tractor Company plays a significant role in ensuring that our members and the public remain safe, even in the face of extreme danger.

When a building is unstable following a fire, these powerful rigs will pull the building down, to help prevent any post-fire injuries or risk to the public.