1. #1
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    Default yellow warning lights

    I've noticed new apparatus come delivered with at least 1 yellow light on it. One of the guys at work says it's NFPA code. I've read NFPA 1901, and can't find where it says new rigs have to be delivered with yellow lights. Can anybody help me with this one?

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    It may not be NFPA code. Here in the People's Socialist Republik of Taxachusetts the law reads that fire apparatus must have one rear facing blue light and Police units have one rear facing Red light. I know of a lot of places taht don't do this on their units, both police and fire, but that what is supposed to be done. No rhyme or reason for this I guess either. Some overworked state emplyee must have really worked hard on this one.
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    I want to say the NFPA recommends 2 yellow lights on the rear upper portion, and 1 on the rear lower when the apparatus is in the traffic blocking (scene) mode. But, the measurement is the amount of light and flash produced. So you might need to mix & match your lighting systems (like a traffic director). Out of our 8 lights that face to the rear, 6 are yellow. And the other day I saw an Engine company with a yellow light to the lower front, so go figure. I know E-One will not manufacture a truck without its emergency lights in compliance with NFPA, if they do the buyer is required to sign some type of paperwork. Fire trucks should be red and tow trucks yellow!!!!

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    Red and Blue can be used in any direction, calling for and blocking right of way. Amber can be used on the sides and rear when calling for right of way and on the front only when blocking right of way. clear(white) can only be used on the front and only for calling right of way not blocking.

    This is the only info I could find reagarding colors I did not find any requirement for Amber lights on the rear. Although I think I did read It some place but not sure.

    Hope the info helps

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    I don't remember where I read this study but basicly it stated that yellow on scene mode is safer in preventing accidents. The reason being that drunk drivers focused more on red lights hence driving towards them and creating a problem the yellow had less of an effect but slowed persons down just the same. Also I would tend to think that the yellow lights would lead to less rubberneckers.
    the truth never hides for long

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    I can't get enough yellow on any apparatus I'm on. But its also NYS DOH law for vehicles. (which is the big argument trying to explain that yes fire apparatus do fall under DOH guidlines if you are certified EMS agency and you do FR).

    570, you are right on the money. NYSP, Calf. Hwy. Patrol, Illinois SP and the US DOT all did studies on factors involving light output, color and reaction light emiteed and flash rate or activity level.

    Finally, from my academy EVOC instructors handbook, he states NFPA recommends amber in 3 directions while parked, all except the front (which still makes no sense to me). 1996 1901 also requires the "response" and "parked" mode which is also fun when you get someone on a new rig that doesn't know about this and reports all clear lights are out on the light bar ) , and limits the amount of amps the lighting system can draw.
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    Thanks for your help guys.

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    The yellow light or lights at the rear are in most cases to comply with NFPA lighting requirements (or state laws when specifically required). NFPA 1901 does not specifically call for yellow lights to the rear, but many lighting packages in the rear zone do not put out enough light to comply with the light intensity tables in NFPA 1901. The lighting manufacturer usually has charts that will show which combinations of lights meet the 1901 spec.

    Yellow to the rear is a good consideration anyway, especially in addition to the reds. We find them much brighter and also useful when wanting to simply "caution" motorists instead of calling out an emergency scene.

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    We have alot of amber on the rear of our new engine. 1 rotator on the top, 2 flashers and 2 strobes. There is also 1 red rotator, 2 red flashers, and 2 red strobes. Then there are the turn signals, brake lights, and the back up warning lights. Not to mention the rear flood lights. Whew alot of lights. Plus the lights under the bumper to light up the ground. Yea I think that's it.
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    Bingo,that's why you have yellow to the rear,lumens output.You could do this with white but it would be real distracting.T.C.

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    Hello there. The reason you are seeing yellow now on apparatus is due to the candlepower requirement of the lights on the truck. The reason that manufacturers are using yellow is that in the spectrum of light, blue has the shortest wavelength and travels the shortest distance(this is also why the sky is blue, the blue wavelength light is a shorter wavelength and is less powerful and therefore only penetrates the outer edge of the atmosphere makeing the sky look blue)Red is the next in short lived, yellow then white. White lights cannot be easily esed to the rear without blinding the people following you(at at least 500', right?) I am also from Massachusetts, and wondered where the evolution of blue lights on the back of fire apparatus came from, and my discoveries were twofold, For the longest time in Mass Fire apparatus was not allowed to display blue, when they were allowed to display blue to the rear(whatever statute it was preventing it went away when wig wags were re-allowed in POV'S)people started putting them on with the guise being that people will think that you are a cop and slow down more. There was even a saying years ago that red lights repel drung drivers and blue lights attract them so many police departments began putting red lights on the rear of thier cruisers(this is a story I was told when I first began my carreer 12 years ago). sp to answer the prigional question, in order to meet the candlepower/distance requirement apparatus are faced with, manufacturers can either put on a light that shines brighter/farther or add more lights to the rear. That is why new trucks come with either an arrowstick and red rotator&/strobes or yellow rotators

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    I am from Massachusetts also. We just took delivery of a new engine in april, the usual reds, with amber strobes just below the hose bed in the back that turn on when the vehicle is in neutral and parking brake is on. As far as blue lights on fire or ambulance apparatus, that's new to me. I've seen some dept in CT and NY run blue lights in the rear. I would imagine MSP would have a field day on blue lights on fire/ems vehicles.
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    EF, the funny part is its illegal in NY for any emergency vehicle to display blue or green lights. They are reserved by NY V&T Law for vollie firefighters and ambulance corps members. But as you can tell its not readily enforced, there are even police vehicles that have them.

    However, I don't know who came up with the blue attracts drunk drivers. A study has shown that the only color that is effective for detering DD's and other drivers is amber. Blue/red lights bring out the "what's goin on" factor, and you drive towards what you look at.
    The amber is on there because it works, if it were candlepower, we all know that generally in the fire service someone would just add on another 4 or 6 red/blue lights to make up for lost candlepower if it was just that.

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    I find the discussion interesting. In my state, the State Dept of Transportation maint vehicles have gone to white and sometimes red rear facing strobes. I think the theory is that the public will heed red lights and slow down in case a police officer is ahead. Amber lights mean construction, wrecker, etc. So many times the public will ignore amber lights, no threat of a traffic ticket! We have gone to one of our rear strobe beacons white, and it is an attention getter, but is not blinding. I have followed and parked behind our apparatus, and it is not a problem. The light is about 10 feet in the air, and not at eye level. At night with a large amount of cars hitting the brakes, red warning lights can blend in, but the white light makes our very expensive trucks stand out. And if somebody really hates white on the rear of a rig, put PLENTY of warning lights on the back end. Strobe/flasher/rotator combination. Cheap insurance in my opinion. And white strobes are the warning light of choice in aviation, because somebody not seeing you could get ugly.

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