After looking at several articles I'm finding that, it seems, each state has there own term for a Squad. With several variations from east coast to west coast. North to south states. What do you consider a Squad? And what compliment of tools does it carry? I'm used to the FDNY's version of a Squad Company. An engine that carries additional equipment for Haz-Mat, High/Low angle rope rescue, extrication equipment and air bags. Now I'm courious since my dept is going to purchase a new engine. This might be the way to go.
If you say squad around my area, you have a fully outfitted Heavy Rescue Truck for auto extercation to overhaul and savage operation to Haz Mat.
If you say Rescue Engine you get a pumper outfitted for auto extercation and minor rescue operations.
Then we have mini squad on one ton or medium duty truck chassis which none of our dept have had in years. Some depts have mini pumpers (because they don't have a fire dept ambulance) they have to run medical calls or areas a larger vehicle wont fit like a parking garage.
Then there are the special squads for high raise, water, collaspe and haz mat operations on smaller or medium size squad trucks.
For us, a "squad" is an ALS transport ambulance that is manned by Firefighter/Paramedics and is equipped with SCBA's, extinguishers, and hand tools(i.e. irons, hooks, sledges, etc...). They respond to all types of calls and transport patients as well as respond to fires. When they do respond to fires, they are not there to just stand around, they are put to work usually as a search time.
In my point of view, a squad should be able to preform Truck Co, Engine Co, and Rescue Co work. Where I live, I believe that the apparatus must have a 35' extension ladder, haz-mat eqquip., set of rescue tools(Jaws...etc), rope rescue equip., and have a pump.
Although, alot of dept's around me call their brush trucks squads, or even their rehab truck as a squad.
Around here we don't have anything labeled as a Squad.
I did spend some time with a dept in a different county that had Squads. They were brush trucks on a pickup chassis with SCBA and medical equipment also. I asked about what gave them the Squad name and was told it was because they were brush units but set up for a full EMS reponse.
All the engine I have worked on or seen from m/a depts generally are set up for more than just fire response (ie- extrication, rope rescue, hazmat and so on) but are still considered engines.
You might check and see if your state has a definition or check with other fd's in your state that have squads.
Where I live in MD, a mile away from the MD/PA state line, we define a squad essenitally how FDNY and BCFD do, Engine with an extrication tool, ropes, water rescue and such, not to the extent as they do but we have the basics. However, if you go over the state line, they define a squad as a pick up truck with a crew cab, often just to carry people in it. When the rescue goes out of service they take all the cribbing in put it in the back but thats about as far as it goes, its just a utility.
The traditional "definition" of a Squad is/was a "truck company without a ladder". They were tasked with doing the same jobs as a truck company (ie; entry, search, rescue, ventilation and salveage/overhaul). Many times a Squad was considered the "second truck company" on an assignment.
Nowdays, a Squad seems to be expected to do almost everything! They are a "toolbox on wheels" with expanded duties such as techncal rescue, hazmat, NBC, mass casualty, etc.
This seems to be why Squads have grown so large! Also maybe why Squads have different equipment lists as you travel around the country.
Our squads our are pickups set up with as a brush fire unit with medical capabilities, and rescue equipment such as, hand tools,cribbing, scba, airbags, and a hurst combi tool. We usually staff them when we are running a six man crew, four will be on our rescue engine and two in the squad.
There is no definition of a squad. In fact, under NIMS, there are no "squads".
In my 32 years I have seen the term squad used for a 2 or 4-door pickup with absolutely no firefighting equipment, a SUV type vehicle with SCBA and a few tools, a hose truck, a 2 or 4-door utility body with a small tank and pump carrying firefighting, EMS, brush fire, technical rescue and/or extrication equipment, a mini or midi-pump with an assortment or specific type of equipment, an engine w/o extrication equipment, an engine with extrication equipment, a hazardous materials rig and a heavy rescue rig.
In other words, a squad is very much determined by the fire department and it's specific needs that is running it, unless the county or regional mutual aid association defines it.
Bottom line is FDNY has defined what they need on their squads. It doesn't mean that is what you need to carry on your's. It honestly doesn't matter what any other department carries on their squads, or what anyone thinks a "squad" should or should not be capable of. It needs to be built 100% around your local needs.
It seems from the responses that a Squad is the jack of all trades vehicle for any given department. Made to be used for multiple incidents as opposed to one or two specific response types.