The 2009 version of NFPA 1901is going to mandate chevrons on the rear of apparatus, like they do in Europe. I think it's a great idea who's time has finally come. I'm sure many FF's and civilian's lives will be saved by this. We need to be visible out there. Some F.D's have been doing this for a while, (see the JPG below). What do you think?
I pinched these two photos out of the FFN collection of pix (at random) and I can really see why chevrons won't make a difference- NOT!
TO those that have made comment about being blind if drivers can't see a big red truck- go try it for yourself at different times of day and night.
Over here in Oz, all emergency services Australia wide have gone to a combination red and blue light system- one os for day time visibility, the other for night time visibility. Many have now added in white strobes as well.
Also add in a multitude of flashing lighs, some of which can be blinding and in other cases are set so damn high on top of our rigs that only a jumbo jet could see them, then it's easy to see why people don't see them.
When we specd a rig, we also need to spec the lights that are visible in all directions. An example is the trusty bar light- great from the front or rear of the truck but park the truck side on and suddenly the 5 foot wide bar light has disappeared....
I think they are really frekin ugly. BUT!!! They do stand out on the side of the road. They are even better with a light stick on it telling wich way to go. So I think they are definitely worth getting. They do save lives.
Took this picture a couple of days ago in Malibu, California which is located north of Los Angeles along the coast. Los Angeles County Fire Department apparently is now specifying that their apparatus use the chevrons. This may be due to the NFPA 1901 requirements or because it just makes sense to do whatever it takes to make the engine more visible.
Generally, older apparatus are "grandfathered" according to the NFPA specs in place at the time the equipment was manufactured. If an apparatus is remounted or altered to either upgrade to a newer chassis, or for a different function from which it was originally designed, then it should comply to the newer specs.
While the increased visability inproves safety on a majority of the on-street calls, I feel that accidents involving rear end accidents with fire apparatus may increase on major highways. As it is, drivers are not paying attention ot the road or where they are driving when we are on the scene of an emergency. They are rubbernecking to see what is going on. The increase visibility of the apparatus may serve nothing more than a focal point for passing drivers, causing them to drive towards the apparatus. Europe has has such great success with this new reflective striping due to the fact that most of the on-street incidents, they shut down the road. Oh, and the police help them with doing it, not arrest them for doing it.