Excerpts from insidestcharles.com:

The St Charles Fire Department is very excited to put a new fire engine into service at Station 3. The fire engine is the first of three to be purchased over the next three years. It took a committee of 8 fire officers and firefighters over two years to spec and design the engine that was built by Pierce Manufacturing. It took 10 months to build the engine that has many of the same safety features as a new car including front and side airbags in the cab, ABS brakes, traction control, roll stability control, independent front suspension, and an air ride rear suspension. It has a 750-gallon water tank, pumps 1,500 gallons of water per minute, has 40 gallons of foam, and carries three different size ladders. 

The services that the fire department provides have changed significantly over the last 20 years. The engine has become a multi-purpose vehicle capable of mitigating a variety of emergencies besides fires. Engines are staffed with paramedics and their needed medical equipment, rescue tools, water rescue gear, power saws, and large fans to exhaust smoke and toxic gases. 

Each engine has a service life of 20 years and the fire department allocates money every year into an apparatus replacement fund for the service life of each vehicle in order to pay for its replacement in full at the time of purchase. 

About the Traditional Fire Service “Push-In Ceremony”

The Push-In Ceremony is a tradition that dates back to the late 1800s when fire departments used hand-drawn pumpers and horse-drawn equipment. Upon returning to the station after a fire call, the horses could not easily back the equipment into the station, so they were disconnected from the fire equipment and firefighters would push the equipment back in to the bay themselves.

thanks Dan