Fire truck reflectivity helps on the job

Many emergency vehicles may have to work at night, from police to ambulance to construction, but fire trucks could have the added problem of low visibility due to fire and smoke. For these situations, reflective vehicle graphics can help fire departments improve their presence on site. Onlookers should easily be able to tell the name of the fire department and other information even in the midst of a crisis.

3M, the company that supplies the materials for Pressure Sensitive Products' labels, recently profiled one of its other customers, Globe Manufacturing, which makes clothing for firefighters that is also fluorescent. Because of this, firefighters are able to see each other more clearly with a flashlight when they are out on duty, as Minneapolis firefighter Captain Jason Dohm told the source.

"If you're wearing a flashlight, and you just turn toward them, you can pick them up with that reflective gear much, much faster," he said. "We don't leave the station without it."

The same principles can hold true for fire trucks, for the benefit of both firefighters and those they are protecting. Departments can match the reflective material on their vehicles with fluorescent labels that makes equipment easier to find in a bad lighting.

In some cases, the entire truck can be a fluorescent color, as a U.S. Fire Administration study previously mentioned on this blog showed, although in that case bystanders need to be able to identify the truck correctly.

Any crew that works at night will need to think of the importance of being identified clearly. Graphics, emblems and other elements of a vehicle's exterior may all add to how effective it is after being dispatched. When fire truck decals are produced to match possible hazards of the job, the results could be a major benefit for the service and the community.