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  1. #1
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    Default Amber to the Rear

    I have brought this subject up a few months ago.

    I am bringing it back up again because I am still not "sold" on the answer I am getting from higher ups.

    My dept just purchased a 2006 aerial and when it was delivered there was no amber to the rear. When I approached a couple of the officers, they told me the dealer said that it was no longer required per NFPA.

    I am still seeing newer apparatus being manufactured with this feature.

    What is the standard? has it changed?

    We are getting ready to purchase another new truck next year and I am wanting to make sure that it is up to code.

    Thank you


  2. #2
    Forum Member Engine305's Avatar
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    Default Amber to the rear

    My new rescue pumper has red LED's on the rear. They give off the candlepower needed to exceed NFPA for rear zone lighting. On a halogen rotator setup, 1 red and 1 amber is needed to get the numbers up. Along with the upper Whelen 900 LED's there are 2 600 LED's just under them, and 600 LED's in the lower zone. So, I am just guessing you have LED's on the rear of your new apparatus.

  3. #3
    Let's talk fire trucks! BoxAlarm187's Avatar
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    Default

    From NFPA 1901, Chapter 13:

    13.8.12 Color of warning lights

    13.8.12.1 Permissible colors of combinations of colors in each zone, within the constraints imposed by applicable laws and regulations, shall be shown in Table 13.8.12.1.

    13.8.12.2 All colors shall be as specified in SAE J578, Color Specification, for red, blue, yellow, or white.


    Amber is permissible for any zone while in the blocking right-of-way mode, and is permissible for any zone except Zone A in the requesting right-of-way mode.

    Most new apparatus are being delivered with amber to the rear because of it's general brightness (espcially in halogen) and the understanding that it convey's more of a "caution" message than the red lights do.

  4. #4
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    Default

    nope. I think the ladder truck has a pair of power arc rotators on the rear. I would have to venture up to the station to find out. It will be a couple of days, but I think I am going to go and get some pictures of the back to show you.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    From NFPA 1901, Chapter 13:

    13.8.12 Color of warning lights

    13.8.12.1 Permissible colors of combinations of colors in each zone, within the constraints imposed by applicable laws and regulations, shall be shown in Table 13.8.12.1.

    13.8.12.2 All colors shall be as specified in SAE J578, Color Specification, for red, blue, yellow, or white.


    Amber is permissible for any zone while in the blocking right-of-way mode, and is permissible for any zone except Zone A in the requesting right-of-way mode.

    Most new apparatus are being delivered with amber to the rear because of it's general brightness (espcially in halogen) and the understanding that it convey's more of a "caution" message than the red lights do.
    So with this said, is our new aerial in compliance or not? Wouldn't the powers to be just love to hear that it is not in compliance.....?

  6. #6
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    Default

    It might depend on the makeup of your light package. Most of the major manufacturers have the layout on their websites for comparison. If it meets the requirements with red, it won't need the amber.

  7. #7
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    Default

    Compliant or not I would be more comfortable with at least one amber light in the rear for safety purposes and I prefer more then that.

    I always thought that one of the reasons why amber came about was because of its effectiveness of visibility at all times, daylight, twilight and night, as well as in bad weather.

    I recently asked the same question with a new rescue my department received, fortunately we have a yellow arrow stick in the rear which is awesome, I thought at one time the standard has required that you must have an amber light on the apparatus that must be seen from 3 sides of the vehicle or 75% or something to that effect. I apparantly was wrong.

  8. #8
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    We spec all our rigs to have amber to the rear. Our new pumper will have a set of Code 3 7"X9" amber LEDs along with a LED light stick. We even added amber flashers to the rear of our older apparatus.

  9. #9
    MembersZone Subscriber dday05's Avatar
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    Our truck has a light stick as well and that counted as our amber light.

  10. #10
    Forum Member Res343cue's Avatar
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    There is ZERO requirement for amber to the rear. The NFPA requires a set amount of candlepower from the lightheads in the various locations. If the red gives you enough CP, then you don't need the amber.
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  11. #11
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    Here's a pumper with 4 Power Arc lights to the rear.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  12. #12
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    Default

    That looks like a nice little rescue pumper, how about a picture of the whole thing.
    A little off topic but we are looking to get one.

    As for the amber the only standard that references an amber to the rear is the ambulance KKK specs.

    We use a lightstick to the rear to provide direction or an amber flasher (in warning mode).

  13. #13
    Forum Member nmfire's Avatar
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    I will simplify this.

    NFPA specifies CANDLEPOWER requirements and a few limitations on colors that can not be used in certain zones at certain times. They DO NOT specify any particular color that must be used in any particular zone and they never have. You officers saying is no longer required are wrong because was never a requirement to begin with.

    You can make the entire back of the truck with green lights if you want. As long as you use enough of them to meet the candlepower requirements, you are perfectly within the rules.

    You can make the left side amber, the front green and red, the right side red and green, and the rear all blue with a touch of red. As long as you have enough lights to meet the candlepower requirements, you are fine. You might be ridiculed and laughed at, but you would be within the NFPA requirements.

    The only official reason that so many apparatus have amber lights in the back is because amber puts out more candlepower per lighthead than red. You can do MORE with LESS and that means it COSTS LESS. Bottom line.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

  14. #14
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    I agree with the yellow to the back being so prevalent because it meets the lumens requirements to make an apparatus NFPA compliant. We skirted it on the last two rigs by adding additional rear facing lighting in the upper zone. Opinions vary, but my thoughts here in this neck of the woods is that yellow equals construction - they won't ticket me when I blow past at Mach 2. Red and blue, well now that could be law enforcement, so I'd best slow down or move over, etc. And since everyone in IL can run red and blue (well, excluding Chicago), we do.

    I suspect we'll see less and less of the all red with some yellow to the rear lightning packages. Others may be capable, but Federal Signal's newest LED product is bright enough to meet lumens requirements with their blue product, which for quite a while was not possible for lower level front and side lighting. Their red is more than capable of meeting the lumens requirements for the rear too, I believe.
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    Double check NFPA 1901, I believe that the current edition is 2003, and look at 13.8.12.1 pg 1901-32. It says," Permissable 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". 13.8.12.2 says," All colors shall be as specified in SAE J578, Colors Specifications, for red, blue, yellow or white.

    Also check DOT and State laws. We use the Code 3 traffic Advisor to the rear for on-scene.

  16. #16
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    Here's a picture of the complete rig. It's a Rosenbauer Central States HME1250/500 water, 450 hp.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  17. #17
    Forum Member CaptOldTimer's Avatar
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    Exclamation Rear Amber Lights

    These are two type of Amber Lights on the rear of these rigs.

    They operate as warning lights to the rear.

    Arrow sticks are usually will be activated once the rig stops.

    The small ones at the step area work on non emergency mode.

    Last edited by CaptOldTimer; 09-11-2009 at 04:57 PM.
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  18. #18
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    Your best bet when spec'ing a lighting package is to stick with what the lighting manufacturers offer as a package to meet the light output for NFPA. Whelen for instance gives many options for different combinations , like strobe/halogen or all LED. What you may find is that some LED lights in amber don't meet the output but red does. Check with the different suppliers, they all have literature on lighting packages. We have all Whelen Super LED's and have 900 and 700 series for upper warning in red. Amber didn't cut it. We also have a traffic advisor for blocking mode which exceeds the rear zone output requirements.
    Studies have been done that shows that people are drawn to the red lights where as amber means caution.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by LIGHTSnSIREN View Post
    The studies have shown that Blue or Green are the most visible at all times. Human vision is most sensitive in those regions, and they are less likely to be confused with other lights (flashing blue and green lights are only seen on emergency vehicles, unlike brake and turn lights). Also, the new LED technologies make the Blues and Greens the brightest.

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    Interesting. I saw a study about 15 years ago (Whelen I think) that said basicly it depends on the light source as to which color is brightest (not counting white). They used strobe, halogen and incandecsent. For example, it said red is the least visble and blue the most visible color for a strobe due to the temp range that strobes operate in. I belive it said amber is the best for halogen.

    This was before LEDs of course, so the study didnt address them. I dont recall blue or green getting high marks in any catagory other then strobe.
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  20. #20
    Forum Member CaptOldTimer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave1983 View Post
    Interesting. I saw a study about 15 years ago (Whelen I think) that said basicly it depends on the light source as to which color is brightest (not counting white). They used strobe, halogen and incandecsent. For example, it said red is the least visble and blue the most visible color for a strobe due to the temp range that strobes operate in. I belive it said amber is the best for halogen.

    This was before LEDs of course, so the study didnt address them. I dont recall blue or green getting high marks in any catagory other then strobe.


    I think I read that as well.

    In Virginia blue is for police. Green can be used as a on scene only command post light. Cannot be used with the vehicle is in motion. Unlike other states that allow you to have all colors of what ever, we have a state rules to go by and no we do not want it changed either.
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

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