Over the many years of my traveling all over the U.S., I saw many emergency vehicles in the cities I visited.
Early on, I began taking photos of these vehicles to show people one day how different they were from city to city.
What follows is my Blog Article on Emergency 911 vehicles and the men and women who operate them.
If you’re a fan of Law Enforcement, Paramedics and / or Firemen then you’ll like this article. It took me many years and many miles to accumulate these photos. I hope you like them.
First, I want to show you the ambulances that I saw.
An ambulance is a vehicle specifically designed to transport critically sick or injured people to a medical facility.
Most ambulances are motor vehicles, although helicopters, airplanes, and boats are also used.
The interior of an ambulance has room for one or more patients plus several emergency medical personnel.
It also contains a variety of supplies and equipment that are used to stabilize the patient’s condition while en route.
The earliest ambulances were simple two-wheeled carts used to carry sick or wounded soldiers who were unable to walk by themselves.
The word ambulance comes from the Latin word ambulare, meaning to walk or move about.
The first ambulances specifically used to transport patients to a medical facility were developed in the late 1700s in France by Dominique-Jean Larrey, surgeon-in-chief in Napoleon’s army.
Larrey noted that it took almost a full day for wounded soldiers to be carried to field hospitals, and that most of them died in that time “from want of assistance.”
To render more immediate aid and provide faster transportation, he designed a horse-drawn carriage staffed by a medical officer and assistant with room for several patients on stretchers.
The first military ambulance corps in the United States was organized in 1862 during the Civil War as part of the Union army.
The first civilian ambulance service in the United States was organized three years later by the Cincinnati Commercial Hospital.
By the turn of the century, most major hospitals had their own private ambulances.
The first motorized ambulance went into operation in Chicago in 1899.
In areas where there were no major hospitals, the local undertaker’s hearse was often the only vehicle capable of carrying a patient on a stretcher, and many funeral homes also provided an ambulance service.
As a result, the design and construction of ambulances and hearses remained closely related for many years.
Today, ambulances come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes.
The simplest designs are equipped to provide basic life support, or BLS, while larger, more sophisticated designs are equipped to provide advanced life support, or ALS.
Ambulances may be operated by private companies, hospitals, the local fire or police department, or a separate city-run organization.
Many fire departments are finding that approximately 80-90% of their calls are for medical emergencies, while only 10-20% are for fires.
In the case of medical emergencies, an ambulance has to be called in addition to the fire engine.
Instead of responding to all calls with large pumpers or ladder trucks, some fire departments are starting to use smaller, lower-cost first-response vehicles that combine the equipment and patient transport capabilities of a rescue truck and ambulance with the fire suppression capabilities of a small pumper.
Now I want to show you some of the police cars that I took pictures of during my travels.
Here’s New York’s Finest… the NYPD.
There are more than 900,000 sworn law enforcement officers now serving in the United States, which is the highest figure ever.
About 12 percent of those are female.
Here’s what the Chicago police cars look like.
According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports, an estimated 1.16 million violent crimes occurred nationwide in 2013, a decrease of 4.4 percent from 2012.
Houston’s police cars look better than some of the others I took pictures of.
The next two vehicles are Texas State Trooper cars.
Crime fighting has taken its’ toll. Since the first recorded police death in 1791, there have been over 20,000 law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.
Currently, there are 20,538 names engraved on the walls of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.
I like the green color on this Florida Sheriff’s car.
I find this car to be somewhat boring with its’ logos and basic white paint.
Here’s the Fort Worth Police driving through the Infield Campground at the Texas NASCAR Race.
A total of 1,466 law enforcement officers died in the line of duty during the past 10 years, an average of one death every 60 hours or 146 per year.
There were 117 law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty in 2014.
I think the New Orleans Police cars look pretty good.
On average, over the last decade, there have been 58,930 assaults against law enforcement each year, resulting in 15,404 injuries.
The 1920s were the deadliest decade in law enforcement history, when a total of 2,417 officers died, or an average of almost 241 each year.
The deadliest year in law enforcement history was 1930, when 301 officers were killed. That figure dropped dramatically in the 1990s, to an average of 162 per year.
I don’t like the colors on this car. Tan and brown don’t seem to be cop colors to me.
The deadliest day in law enforcement history was September 11, 2001, when 72 officers were killed while responding to the terrorist attacks on America.
In New Orleans, the Law Enforcement Personnel get to drive their cars in parades all the time.
Here’s a Louisiana State Trooper car riding in a Mardi Gras parade.
Being on parade duty is an easy day for these cops.
I thought Philadelphia had one of the most boring police cars. Basically just white with a little stripe of color. Not much to it.
All of the cop cars I saw in California were black with white doors. The typical ‘Black and White’ units.
Here’s another Louisiana State Trooper again. I really like their cars.
This car is from the Daytona Beach Police department. I think it could look better since it’s in the area for the biggest NASCAR race of the year, the Daytona 500.
This car must be strictly for traffic enforcement like speeding. There’s no way you could transport a prisoner in the back of this car.
New York City has lost more officers in the line of duty than any other department, with 701 deaths.
Texas has lost 1,695 officers, more than any other state.
The state with the fewest deaths is Vermont, with 22.
There are 1,092 federal officers listed on the Memorial, as well as 633 correctional officers and 34 military law enforcement officers.
Here’s a cop car from Vegas. I expected a flashier design on them.
During the past ten years, more incidents that resulted in felonious fatalities occurred on Thursday than any other day of the week.
The fewest number of felonious incidents occurred on Tuesday.
I didn’t see many trucks. Here’s a Texas State Trooper’s truck.
This is one really old Jeep. Time for an upgrade.
NYPD has a lot of different vehicles. Here’s one of their vans.
I’m not sure what this vehicle is for. It looks like one for parking enforcement, but I don’t know.
I got a picture of these two officers at a drag race in Gainesville, Florida.
If I ever would have been a cop, I would have been a motorcycle cop.
I think being a motorcycle cop would be cooler than one in a squad car.
You get to cruise with the wind in your face all day and a lot of your duties are escort work.
You may not be able to tell, but I can. I know how big this bike is and this cop sitting on it makes it look small. That’s because he is one big dude.
I don’t know how tall he is, but he’s up there.
I think the New Orleans motorcycles for their cops look very nice.
Here’s a Sheriff’s Deputy riding by at a drag race just outside of Houston.
Here’s another cop on the same bike as that tall officer. Notice how he looks on it and now go back and look at the tall cop again. You’ll see what I’m talking about.
Here’s a Louisiana State Trooper on his motorcycle during Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
I saw these two cops chillin’ and ran over to get their picture. They’re New Orleans officers during Mardi Gras.
Many don’t know where the word ‘cop’ comes from.
When officers first started wearing badges, they were made out of copper. People started calling them ‘cops’ which was short for copper.
Here’s a group of New Orleans officers riding by.
I had no problem getting this officer to pose with my model, lol.
When I was in Chicago one time, I saw this Chicago Fire Department SCUBA Team vehicle passing by, so I quickly snapped a pic.
I think it’s one of the coolest emergency vehicles that I got a photo of.
I’m a certified SCUBA diver and I used to think that being a diver for the city of Houston would be cool. Then I realized that the divers sometimes have to go look for people that drowned and bring them up to the surface. I wouldn’t want to do that.
Now I’ll show you the fire trucks I took photos of.
A lot of little boys have fire trucks as a child and many say that they want to be a fireman when they grow up.
Firemen are respected by all and loved by many. Not like cops. Some people hate cops because they got a speeding ticket or something. Firemen are only there to help people, so they get a lot more love.
The first fire truck is from the Daytona International Speedway and I think it may be the coolest.
Look at how they put on it the winners’ checkered flag across the bottom of it. It looks very cool.
Kids naturally admire firefighters. Their actions save people from burning buildings, rescue trapped victims in car crashes and remove frightened cats from trees.
The horns and lights of their enormous trucks are intriguing and all the equipment stored on the truck is fascinating to learn about and watch in action.
The first paid and organized firefighting department was founded in Boston in 1678, according to the Boston Fire Historical Society.
Benjamin Franklin started the first all-volunteer firefighting service in Philadelphia in 1736, according to UShistory.com.
Along with Franklin, several other Founding Fathers served as volunteer firefighters, including Samuel Adams, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.
I snapped this picture of a Philadelphia Ladder Truck coming out of Chinatown in Philly.
Firefighters’ gear weighs a lot. A tally in a “Coeur d’Alene Press” article lists the following: A fireman’s coat weighs 15 pounds. His boots and trousers weigh 30 pounds. The mask and air pack that a firefighter wears to ensure he has plenty of oxygen while fighting the fire weighs 30 pounds.
In total, that is 75 pounds of gear. That is just the basics of what he needs. Firefighters often carry hoses and axes that add more weight, according to the Santa Clara County Fire Department.
Firefighters keep their fire-retardant clothing and gear near their truck in the fire house so they can quickly get dressed and get on the truck.
Fire trucks can reach speeds of 60 to 70 mph when responding to a fire or other emergency.
According to the New York City Fire Department, firetrucks come in three basic types:
Pumper trucks are about 30 feet long and use hoses to attach to fire hydrants to get water to fight fires.
Tanker trucks, which also are about 30 feet long, can carry up to 1,000 gallons of water.
And ladder trucks are 40 to 50 feet in length and have a long ladder that can be extended to reach higher stories of tall buildings.
Every year, fires take many lives and destroy billions of dollars worth of property. Firefighters help protect people and property. They are often the first at an accident or emergency.
In between alarms, firefighters must clean and repair their equipment. They practice firefighting skills, and they may perform fire inspections. They exercise to keep fit.
Some firefighters work at airports or in factories. Others work in forests and rural areas.
Special firefighters, called smoke jumpers, fight forest fires. They parachute from airplanes to remote areas.
Firefighters live at fire stations much of the time. Most fire stations have living rooms, kitchens, and bedrooms.
I was taking a walk one day in Houston and came across this fire truck like this. I had never seen this before.
They were doing maintenance on the truck. They do this every Monday.
The New York Fire Department, or NYFD, is loved by millions of people because of their valiant efforts on 9-11. And also because they lost so many of their co-workers in the fall of the towers.
Firefighting is dangerous work. During a fire, floors can cave in and walls can topple. Flames and smoke can burn or kill. Firefighters may come in contact with poisonous gases or other hazardous materials.
Many firefighters work more than 50 hours a week. Some are on duty for 24 hours straight. Then, they get 48 hours off. They also get another day off on a regular basis.
Others work a 10-hour day shift for 3 or 4 days. Then, they work a 14-hour night shift for 3 or 4 nights and have 3 or 4 days off.
Usually, firefighters take a written test and tests of strength, coordination, and agility to become a fire fighter. Firefighters have to be healthy.
Classes in fire science at a community college may help people get a job. Now, more firefighters go to college.
Here’s a firefighter at the Daytona 500. It was a hot day and he still had to wear all of his gear to be ready for an emergency.
The guys in the photo below work at the Texas Motor Speedway and were kind enough to pose for a photo for me.
This fire safety crew was at the Texas Motor Speedway also. Those uniforms look cool, but can be very hot to stay in all day long.
I like firefighters and have a few friends that fight fires in Houston.
I had to get a pic with the two cool cops in New Orleans at Mardi Gras.
I think the New Orleans Police Department has some of the nicest looking police cars that I saw all over the country.
I hope you have enjoyed reading my article and seeing all the different emergency vehicles across the country.
As I said in the beginning, this article took many years and many miles to be able to write it because it took me so long to accumulate these photos.
I’m glad I had the forethought to take these photos. I enjoy looking at them now. I hope you do to.
I have more than 25,000 travel photos on my website, as well as my videos, for your viewing pleasure.
Also, you can ‘Like’ my Facebook page for updates about what events and places I’ll be traveling to next.