Why Are Firetrucks Red? (Find Out Why Firetrucks Are Red-colored!)

Last Updated on January 7, 2023 by Leepu Da Maxim

Well, there is no specific reason why firetrucks are red but the color “red” is very easy to spot. This might be a key reason firetrucks are red so that they can easily be spotted by people in emergency situations. Moreover, the red color is always associated with an emergency situation and firetrucks are emergency vehicles.

Key Takeaways

  • What will be the color of a fire truck is decided by the fire department or municipality that owns the firetruck
  • Nowadays, many firetrucks use the color Yellow instead of Red because Yellow color is more visible in all lighting conditions
  • The first fire trucks were a collection of various horse-drawn carts and wagons and these vehicles had a variety of colors including red

Fire Trucks & Fire Engines – Main Differences

Fire TruckFire Engine
Hydraulically operated aerial ladder

A complete complement of floor ladders of various lengths and types

Specialized equipment for forced entry, rescue, search, and ventilation
The engine of these vehicles can carry ladders and can be transported, although they are installed by the fire department

Water tank with a capacity between 500 and 750 gallons

1,500 gallons per minute water pump

Complement for various types of supply as well as attack hoses

Why Are Some Fire Trucks Yellow Instead Of Red?

Of course, the red color of the fire trucks is the traditional and classic color chosen in this type of case. Beyond that, many investigations assure that the lime yellow color is much more convenient for a fire truck. This type of color in fire trucks decreases the chances of traffic accidents on the road.

Additionally, research on human factors and ergonomics supports this theory. All of this is based on the auditory and visual perception capabilities of humans. Sometimes certain colors are much easier to see at night. The same is true for other colors, but on the contrary, they are more difficult to see in the dark.

In low light conditions, light colors like lime yellow are much easier for anyone to see. In the same way, some colors like orange, greenish-yellow, or fluorescent colors are easy to detect at any time of the day under normal lighting conditions.

During the 1970s and 1980s, accident data from the Dallas Fire Department was used to make these changes. In this case, the red colors of the fire trucks began to be replaced by lime yellow. These changes were implemented exactly in the upper white cabs of the vehicles.

From here, it was detected that some vehicles that are white and red like fire trucks are three times more likely to be in a traffic accident. These numbers came out when comparing the red color with the lime-yellow color. It should also be mentioned that the number of serious or fatal injuries involving a lime-yellow fire truck also decreased.

As a result, not only is the number of traffic accidents lower but also the number of injuries suffered by the people involved has decreased. Some studies comparing more than 750,000 fire truck trips and 9 cities were able to provide more data. Here, the probability of these yellow lime trucks being involved in traffic accidents was exactly half that of the red trucks.

Beyond that, it is also important to mention that in some cities people do not recognize lime yellow with fire trucks. Of course, this is due to the same reason that red is the traditional color for firefighters. Also, the color of the vehicle paint is not the only thing important to increase visibility.

There are also retro-reflective stripes that allow fire trucks to optimize visibility at night. However, a great deal of data ensures that fire trucks that are painted lime yellow are much safer for firefighters and other people.

Why Are Firetrucks So Clean?

In the vast majority of places where fire trucks are present, they always look excessively clean both inside and outside. As mentioned by some professionals in the area, fire trucks do need high levels of cleanliness every day. In particular, the cleanliness of the interior and mechanics are really important for these vehicles.

As more efficient and even obsessive cleaning is applied, the possibility of vehicle failure decreases. This prevents dirt and debris in general from accumulating too much in certain parts of the vehicle. Excessive accumulation of dirt in certain parts of the fire truck could lead to vehicle mechanical failure.

So, this is an emergency, since special moments are used in a fire truck. In the event of a mechanical failure, the vehicle may suddenly not work. So, if this happens simply some people could die in a fire or a traffic accident if they wait too long. This is why a high level of vehicle cleanliness is really important.

Besides, the professional team usually has more than enough time between fires or traffic accidents. So, these moments are more than enough to be able to spend time doing productive activities. Thanks to this, the fire trucks are really clean and therefore more efficient in every emergency or fire.

What Color Was The First Fire Truck?

Some experts in the area claim that the first cars were painted red. This was the reason why the first fire trucks were also painted red due to the availability of the color. So, from then on, only this color started to be used, since it is not a vehicle that is commercialized massively.

On the other hand, Henry Ford also gave his opinion on the subject and wanted to establish black as the best color to paint fire trucks. The Ford Model T was painted black due to the great durability of the paint and the relatively low cost of manufacturing. These same reasons were the reason for painting the fire trucks red.

Beyond the low efficiency of the color red, the firefighters of that time wanted to paint the fire trucks red. Some people claim that this was decided to offer greater visibility to all people driving a vehicle. So, in an emergency, the new fire trucks painted red would be seen much more.

Of course, over time some scientific research has shown that red is not the best color for the best visibility at any time of day. Even at night, the color red is very little deficient to optimize the visibility of any driver. Also, some people think that the color red was chosen because it was the most expensive color at the time.

So, to show a certain aspect of superiority and pride, red was the most appropriate color. These days, retro-reflective stripes are considered more important than just paint color. So, retroreflective stripes are used in many emergency vehicles so that other drivers can detect these vehicles as soon as possible.

What Does A Black Fire Truck Mean?

In general, the parts that are obscured from fire trucks are not because of simple design. On the contrary, there are some benefits of high functionality and safety when attending a traffic accident or a fire. Sometimes the following parts of a fire truck are used in black

1. Latches

2. Warning Light Surrounds

3. Pump Panels

4. Headlight Bezels

5. Handles And Handrails

6. Stepping And Standing Areas

7. Front Bumper Area

8. Front Grill

9. Wheels, Among Others

So, we can mention some benefits when trucks decide to blacken some of these parts and others.

1.  Ease Of Cleaning

When fire trucks include traditional chrome parts, cleaning is not as simple as it seems. To recover the appearance as new, it is necessary to clean and polish the parts from time to time. Of course, this special dedication requires a greater amount of time and money than if other options are chosen.

That’s why to save cleaning effort it is decided to darken certain parts of the fire truck. In these cases, only some water and air are required to clean and dry these parts. At the same time, the aluminum running plates that offer a good grip due to their design are very difficult to clean.

This happens because dirt, debris, or dust adheres much more easily to this area. To facilitate the cleaning of these types of surfaces, a coating with highly durable urethane material is added. In turn, the color black offers a better overall appearance of the vehicle because it hides dirt and dusts better.

2. Reduces Corrosion And Increases Durability

When dealing with high-traffic areas the additional durability of these black coatings is important. Here, you get additional protection when any metal surface is coated with a black coating. So, the surface is sealed and continuous for a better result. So, this provides extra protection for certain situations.

Horizontal step surfaces or fender crowns, for example, are prone to exposure to moisture and other corrosive factors. So, to reduce the excessive wear of this corruption, materials such as rubber are used to provide a black and more protected coating. In this way, the various functions of the fire truck offer a longer life.

3. Glare Reduction

Reducing glare is important so that other drivers’ eyesight is not impaired. Chrome materials can be combined with a sun that shines right on its surface. So, this can create a very dangerous glare for other drivers.

Conversely, fire trucks with some black coatings do not have this problem. So, this provides visibility more in line with various times of the day.