1. #1
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    Default Need Help NFPA 1901.....making me nuts

    This is not another light bar thread but.....where do you place the amber beacon on the rear of the truck. I have look all over the Internet also have looked at 1901, ANSI, and a host of others. I also need to know why its placed in a specific position on the apparatus. Thanks for the help
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    I don't think you'll find what your looking for because NFPA doesn't tell you where to put anything. They give specifications for lighting packages in various zones. Some manufacturers have interpreted it to mean an amber in position X, every time. The major manufacturers of lighting all have standard NFPA compliant packages, pick one.

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    Our amber lights are in a lightstick mounted to the rear of the rig. It is preprogrammed for different patterns and is an attention getter when approaching the rig from behind.
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    As was said before, it is based on light ouput in zones of the apparatus. You don't need it on there if you increase the number of lights to jump up your light output. We have them as rotators on the top rear of the apparatus on the passenger side.........
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    Just out of curiosity, any reason why some of you have them on one side of the apparatus instead of on both sides? And if it's on one side, why that side and not the other?
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    Quote Originally Posted by needlejockey
    Just out of curiosity, any reason why some of you have them on one side of the apparatus instead of on both sides? And if it's on one side, why that side and not the other?
    Not sure how exactly they decided which side to put it on...... I know our 2 newest trucks came from the manufacturer with them on the passenger side. The Chief at the time was big on the "uniformity" so all apparatus was converted to have an amber on the rear passenger side........
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    Just out of curiosity, any reason why some of you have them on one side of the apparatus instead of on both sides? And if it's on one side, why that side and not the other?

    Why are some fire trucks red, some not ripe, and some have black roofs?

    It's completely a personal preference.

    The only reason an amber light is used because it has they have more effective candlepower (brighter) than a red filter with the same bulb behind it. I'm sure there's tons of design factors of halogen v. strobe v. LEDs, then what kind of LEDs (white with filters, v. actual colored LEDs)...but I've seen one Halogen Whelen product where simply changing the lense from red to yellow boosts the candlepower from 50,000 to 70,000.

    White doesn't tend to be a good color, especially down low where it could be flashing in the eyes of driver you just passed. Blue isn't that traditional of fire truck color and specifically illegal in a number of states. So amber gets the nod as a good compromise.

    "Hey, we're 20,000cp short!"

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    First off, NFPA does NOT require amber on the rear of apparatus. That is why you cant find the "required" location.

    The only thing NFPA 1901 says about color is 1, there can be no white (clear) light in the rear zones, and 2, any white (clear) in the front zone must be dissabled (shut-off) when in blocking mode (on-scene). I think I recall when the new 1901 came out some other language about only useing red, blue, amber and clear (no green) and that you cant have amber in the front zone. Not sure if thats up to date however.

    What NFPA 1901 does say is that there is a required minimum candela (candlepower) in each zone. Most apparatus only have two lights in the upper rear zone. Two red lights (or blue) do not meet the candela requirement. However, amber has a higher candela output and when placed with a red, meets the requirement. Thats why most new apparatus come with 1 amber and 1 red.

    There are other options. If you use more then 2 lights in the upper rear zone, you can have what ever color you want (except clear) as long as it meets the candela requirement. You can do what we did with our quint. It has 2 red rotators and an amber Signalmaster (arrow light) that comes on automaticaly when in blocking mode.

    Hope that helps...

    Now, if your going to use one red with one amber, IMHO the amber should be on the drivers side. That way when your sitting at the curb, the amber (the more visable light) is next to the traffic lane.
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    On our newest engine the amber light is a rotator on the driver side.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave1983
    Now, if your going to use one red with one amber, IMHO the amber should be on the drivers side. That way when your sitting at the curb, the amber (the more visable light) is next to the traffic lane.
    Our last two trucks came with an amber lens on the rear driver's side rotator. We switched it to the passenger side. Why? Because the bright yellow flash in the driver side mirror was entirely too distracting. Yes, we could've blacked out the front facing part of the lens, but it was easier just to switch them. The red is much easier on the eyes at night.

    Incidentally, basically all halogen rotators with red lenses, when used in pairs, meet or exceed NFPA's requirement for Zone C Rear Upper Blocking. Manufacturers sticking an amber lens on one of them was a trend started in the mid 90s and for some reason stuck and continues to this day. You do NOT need ANY amber ANYWHERE on the apparatus if you don't want it.

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    Ours are on the rear driver's side. They don't interfere with our vision.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chauffer6
    Our last two trucks came with an amber lens on the rear driver's side rotator. We switched it to the passenger side. Why? Because the bright yellow flash in the driver side mirror was entirely too distracting.
    On our newest rig, we mounted the lights on the back of the apparatus. The big benefit of this is that everything flashes backwards where it is supposed to and nothing reflects in the driver's mirror.

    http://www.maumellefire.com/interactive2/index.htm

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chauffer6
    Incidentally, basically all halogen rotators with red lenses, when used in pairs, meet or exceed NFPA's requirement for Zone C Rear Upper Blocking. Manufacturers sticking an amber lens on one of them was a trend started in the mid 90s and for some reason stuck and continues to this day.

    Ummm, no. With all due respect, that is incorrect. It is not a "trend" started by a manufacturer. A single pair of red halogens does NOT, in any way, shape or form, meet and certainly does not exceed the requirement. Dont belive me? Check any of the lighting output charts, which are available on the net.

    And for what its worth, this all came to my attention after I spoke to the Federal Signal rep at Fire Rescue East in 2001. The information was later confirmed by the lighting designer at the Pierce plant in Appleton later that year when I spoke to him about our quint and its lighting package.

    Im sure that both these gentlemen know what they are talking about.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave1983
    A single pair of red halogens does NOT, in any way, shape or form, meet and certainly does not exceed the requirement. Dont belive me? Check any of the lighting output charts, which are available on the net.
    Ok.

    Code3:


    Whelen:


    Code3 and Whelen, right out of their current NFPA package guides. Both for Upper Zone C. Both show 2 red halogen beacons meeting the requirement. Note in Code3's where it says "Red or Amber Lens", not "Red and Amber Lens" or "1 Red and 1 Amber Lens".

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    BTW Dave, I'm not trying to be argumentative, there just seems to be some confusion about this. Maybe those NFPA packages are incorrect, or maybe the manufacturers have interpreted it differently.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chauffer6
    BTW Dave, I'm not trying to be argumentative, there just seems to be some confusion about this. Maybe those NFPA packages are incorrect, or maybe the manufacturers have interpreted it differently.
    Same here...What you posted must be new stuff. Perhaps Code 3 has some new type of halogen bulb. All I know is four years ago (last time I wrote a spec) no one met the requiremant with red only.
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    Default In New York.....

    There is no requirements to have an amber light on any truck. I was told that they did a study and it showed with an amber light on the driver side - it draws drivers away from the truck instead of being hypnotized by all red which makes them veer towards the trucks. Itís kind of like when someone has there high beams on and people veered towards the bright lights on the oncoming car. The cops also have amber on the driverís side.
    Last edited by Asstchief1630; 10-25-2006 at 06:39 PM.

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    OK I'll bite, I thought that this is a DOT requirement/ recommendation not NFPA.

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    Y'all could do what we did in Maryland. - When NFPA (Not For Practical Application) came out with the requirement that a load shedding device would shut down some of the warning lights when the parking brake was applied, we promptly had the legislature pass a law prohibiting the use of that device in this state. Maryland law now requires that all warning devices be under the control of the Apparatus Operator.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hwoods
    Y'all could do what we did in Maryland. - When NFPA (Not For Practical Application) came out with the requirement that a load shedding device would shut down some of the warning lights when the parking brake was applied, we promptly had the legislature pass a law prohibiting the use of that device in this state. Maryland law now requires that all warning devices be under the control of the Apparatus Operator.
    I can think of some more requirements that the legislature needs to over ride -- man that would be nice if New York would do that!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave1983
    The only thing NFPA 1901 says about color is 1, there can be no white (clear) light in the rear zones, and 2, any white (clear) in the front zone must be dissabled (shut-off) when in blocking mode (on-scene). I think I recall when the new 1901 came out some other language about only useing red, blue, amber and clear (no green) and that you cant have amber in the front zone. Not sure if thats up to date however.
    NFPA 1901-2003 states "Permissible colors or combinations of colors in each zone, within the constraints imposed by applicable laws and regulations, shall be as shown in Table 13.8.12.1." The table says you can use: Red, any zone, both modes; Blue, any zone, both modes; Yellow (Amber), any zone except A for calling right of way, any zone for blocking right of way; White, any zone except for C for calling right of way, not permitted in any zone for blocking right of way......and blah blah blah blah.

    At any rate, NFPA basically says that you can use the four colors (red, blue, amber, white) - but they don't specifically say that you can't use other colors. I wanted a green light on the front of our new engine to add a little contrast when the white lights were off (our stupid state doesn't permit blue in the front), so I consulted Whelen. Their take on it is that you can use any color you want (provided it isn't specifically prohibited by NFPA - as in amber and white, as above) if it is above and beyond the minimum requirements......so we put a pair of red lights in the front zone lower (meets requirement), as well as another red/green pair. Just creative interpretation of the rules...

    What NFPA 1901 does say is that there is a required minimum candela (candlepower) in each zone. Most apparatus only have two lights in the upper rear zone. Two red lights (or blue) do not meet the candela requirement. However, amber has a higher candela output and when placed with a red, meets the requirement. Thats why most new apparatus come with 1 amber and 1 red.
    Interesting thing about this - Whelen's NFPA LED package for rear zone upper requires two 900 series (big square ones) and two 700 series (thinner long ones). We asked for the larger 900's in amber, and the smaller 700's in red/blue. Evidently something is different with the (Super) LEDs with colors and candela output, because they made us change the larger lights from amber to red in order to meet the light output requirement.
    Last edited by BlitzfireSolo; 10-28-2006 at 11:46 AM. Reason: Fix quote bracket

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    My take on this whole situation ..is the mgf's are placing the light on what ever side they want. I have spoken to several dealers reps and all say its up to the customer on which side an amber light is placed.
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