Red vs. Yellow Firetrucks

Post 80 of 98

Engine 4The following article was borrowed from the Sandusky (OH) Fire Department. Over the last 35 years, there has much discussion about yellow (safety green) fire trucks. Please enjoy:

City of Sandusky Fire Department

Did You Know!

We may not like to admit it, but at one time, even if it was for a short time, Sandusky Fire Trucks were painted something other than Red.

The push for a non-traditional color started in the 1960’s when an Optometrist and Volunteer Firefighter by the name of Stephen S. Solomon conducted studies that proved that the color Lime-Yellow (sometimes referred to as Safety Yellow) was much more visible that Red. Throughout his research which spanned from 1959 to roughly 1988, Dr. Solomon concluded that Yellow and Greenish-Yellow are colors the eye is most sensitive to. He also found that human vision does not see the color Red when adapted to the dark and that the lateral peripheral vision for detecting Yellow is 1.24 times greater than that for Red.

With this information in-hand, many Fire Chiefs around the United States started ordering apparatus with some sort of color combination identified in the study including the largest in the Country, the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) which received a single American LaFrance Pumper painted Lime-Yellow in the summer of 1981. The next year an additional order of 10 Mack Pumpers were added as an expanded test but was eventually painted back to Red by 1984 after the FDNY found the 11 Yellow apparatus to be 58% more accident prone than the Red. Many Departments around the Country that have moved to a complete fleet of apparatus painted Lime-Yellow, Yellow, or Lime-Green paint scheme has since switched back to Red. These include, Dallas, Cleveland, San Jose, Boston, Jersey City, and even Sandusky.

In 1976, the City of Sandusky Fire Department took delivery of three Mack Pumpers, all painted Yellow with White upper cabs. These apparatus remained in front-line service and Yellow until 1990 when all three of these Pumpers were replaced by three Sutphen Pumpers painted Red. Soon after the delivery of the Sutphen’s, all three Mack’s were refurbished and repainted back to the traditional Red to match the remaining fleet.

Today, Sandusky’s fleet of apparatus consists of all Red apparatus with the only exception being Ladder Co. 951 which is Red with an upper White Cab. This apparatus was purchased by the City in 1995 as a demonstration piece and was pre-painted by the manufacture.

Some information for this post was obtained from the Tipton Fire Department, Iowa web site. www.tiptonfire.org

This article was written by Chief Taylor

1 comment:

Jim ReynoldsFebruary 2, 2013 at 11:52 amReply

Interesting article. I like red myself.