Problem #1 not every state allows POVs to be "emergency vehicles." So not every could have sirens, etc, and some only "ask for the right of way" by use of a courtesy light.
Problem #2 lots of states contradict each other, i.e. Law Enforcement is the only one who is allowed blue lights in the South, here volunteer firefighters are supposed to be all blue.
My personal opinion is that if I'm responding to a natural disaster, I'll either be in a marked patrol car, a fire truck, or on an ambulance... won't matter the color of lights. I don't think POVs need to be going to natural disasters.
I agree with Ethan. We've never been to any type of large incident, especially out of state, where we weren't in an agency vehicle. These are always well marked and easily recognizable. I feel that's the way it should be. Again, if any responder is going to a large incident such as a natural disaster he or she should be riding in an "official" vehicle. That's mostly about accountability.
" Even if your vehicle is clearly marked people are stupid and don't move out of there way"
That occurs in my district, by local people. Marked or unmarked, emergency vehicles or POV's, really makes no difference. You are requesting the right of way, not demanding it.
There are already laws for yielding to an emergency vehicle, and people don't.
There are laws for moving over and slowing down when passing emergency scenes, and people don't.
How is a "National Standard" going to help? It won't.
The US DOT can make it a law. I believe that Fire Department, Rescue Squad and/or Ambulance should be red. No matter if its POV or actual apparatus. Police should be blue. Amber should be for construction, utilities, tow companies, or anything that affects the pattern of traffic (mail, newspaper carrier, etc). I believe this should be nation wide. I've traveled cross country and been in states where they run green lights, purple lights, lights and sirens, airhorns, and my list could go on for hours. I've scene people from out of state getting ticketed for having blue lights or red lights on their vehicle while traveling threw the state. I also believe it would cause less confusion for the citizens. I believe the lights can still be courtesy lights or emergency lights. What ever is deemed appropriate by the state or local government or AHJ.
"What ever is deemed appropriate by the state or local government or AHJ"
This is the way it is now. Not much of a mandate if States still have a choice.
Of course if you manage to *get* national standards for emergency vehicle/POV lights you do realize what comes next, right?
National standards for apparatus, such as safety systems, capacity, etc including decals, striping, reflective standards
National standards for recruitment/hiring (physicals, background checks, ability!
National standards for training (as in making departments do it, regularly and documented)
National standards for interoperability (no more homemade tankers, brush trucks etc.)
National standards for communication (that means everyone talky talky same same on their radios (and for that matter, samey samey radios))
The whole idea of national standards to standardize the color of emergency vehicle lights is absurd. There are way too many other issues in the fire service that DEMAND attention and frankly, worrying about what color lights who should have where is ridiculous to the extreme.
The feds are into too much already and due a crappy job. Let the states regulate this.
I think most people in this country will recognize a fire truck, ambulance or a marked police cruiser when they see it. While there are minor inconsistancies most folks expect blue or red flashing lights as emergency and amber as warning. I would like to see the states adopt a standard policy and simply enforce it. Butjust because some states are not doing their job doesn't mean teh feds should or would do any better.
What I really want to see is police and ambulances drop their flashing white lights when on scene AND be able to shut off their headlights. These are real problems.
I also don't think unmarked cop cars and especially if they are not uniformed should be making traffic stops, but that is another issue altogether.