NFPA 1901 Specifications for Fire Trucks – (www.tapedealer.com)
The marking of fire apparatus and emergency vehicles is outlined in the NFPA 1901 recommendation. The application of reflective tape in the form of chevron striping to the vehicle’s rear, sides, and front is covered in the recommendation. The majority of departments are following this as a guide when retrofitting older rigs, and many insurance companies are requiring that stations adhere to NFPA 1901. The reflective tape is typically pre-installed on new trucks as standard. Products for Reflective Chevron Striping can be purchased online for retrofits.
A Type 1 (engineer grade) is the minimum acceptable type of reflective sheeting that can be used. More commonly, brighter tape is used. Oralite V98 by Orafol is one popular choice due to its flexibility. Also, fluorescent lime and red and the norm for colors. There is no color designation for the sides and front.
The requirements for the different areas of the vehicle are as follows.
REFLECTIVE REQUIREMENTS FOR DOORS
14.1.6 Any door of the apparatus designed to allow persons to enter or exit the apparatus shall have at least 96 square inches of retro-reflective material applied to the inside of the door. (this is too call attention to the door when it is opened)
REFLECTIVE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE SIDE AND FRONT OF THE VEHICLE
220.127.116.11* Retro-reflective striping shall be applied to at least 50% of the cab and body length on each side of the vehicle, excluding the pump panel areas, and at least 25% of the width of the front of the fire apparatus.
18.104.22.168.1 The stripe or combination of stripes shall be a minimum of 4 inches in total width. (2 – two inch stripes, a 3″ and a 1″, etc.. would meet the criteria)
22.214.171.124.2 The 4 inch wide stripe or combination of stripes shall be allowed to be interrupted by objects (example- receptacles, cracks between slats in roll up doors) provided the full stripe is viewed as conspicuous when approaching the fire apparatus.
126.96.36.199.3 A Reflective graphic design shall be allowed to replace all or part of the required striping material if the design or combination thereof covers at least the same perimeter length(s) required by 188.8.131.52.
REFLECTIVE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE REAR OF THE VEHICLE
184.108.40.206 At least 50% or half of the rear-facing vertical surfaces, visible from the rear of the fire apparatus, “not including” any pump panel areas not covered by a door, shall be outfitted with retro-reflective striping in a chevron pattern sloping downward and away from the center-line of the vehicle at 45 degree angles. (see picture above)
220.127.116.11.1 Each stripe used in the chevron design shall be a single color alternating between yellow and red.
18.104.22.168.2 Each stripe shall be 6 inches wide.
22.214.171.124 The retro-reflective materials required by sections 126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52 shall be in accordance to requirements stated in ASTM D 4956, Standard Specification for Retro-reflective Sheeting for Traffic Control, Section 6.1.1 for Type I Sheeting. (engineer grade which is similar to what is on a car tag. The sheeting can be brighter. ie, Type 3,5,8,v92,v82)
184.108.40.206.1 All retro-reflective sheeting and materials used to meet the requirements of 220.127.116.11 that are colors not listed in ASTM D 4956, Section 6.1.1, shall have a minimum coefficient of retroreflection of 10 candelas, measured at an observation angle of 0.2 degrees and entrance angle of −4 degrees.
18.104.22.168.3 Any printed or processed retroreflective film construction used to satisfy 22.214.171.124 and 126.96.36.199 must adhere to ASTM D 4956 Section 6.1.1’s requirements for integral colored films.
Even though it is not a federal law, the majority of departments adhere to NFPA 1901 for legal and safety reasons. In the event of an accident, most departments believe that taking every safety precaution is preferable. The Reflective Store is our primary location for safety products.
Steven Cole (Economics, MBA – University of West Florida , Business & Innovation – Stanford University) 25 years of experience in the reflective safety business. Specializing in vehicle accident and rear end collision reduction through increased visibility.