Chevron Striping NFPA 1901 – Reflective Diamond Plate Solutions – Article 2

Free V98 Sample Pack.  In 2009 the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) issued a recommendation known as NFPA 1901 that sets standards for reflective striping on fire trucks and fire apparatus.

In this article we will cover section 15.9.3.2 of NFPA 1901 which covers the rear of the vehicle.  Specifically, we are going to cover how to make diamond treadplate reflective with chevron striping.  The NFPA requirement is summarized below.

REFLECTIVE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE REAR OF THE VEHICLE (summary)

15.9.3.2 At least 50 percent of the rear-facing vertical surfaces, visible from the rear of the apparatus, excluding any pump panel areas not covered by a door, shall be equipped with retro-reflective striping in a chevron pattern sloping downward and away from the centerline of the vehicle at an angle of 45 degrees.  The stripes are to be alternating red and yellow.  Standard or Fluorescent yellow is accepted.   Each stripe should be 6″ wide and should be a minimum of type 1 (engineer grade).

(end summary)

As you know many fire trucks utilize diamond plate or treadplate on the rear of the vehicle.  This creates a challenge when trying to achieve a 50% coverage ratio.  If the amount of diamond plate is small then the area can simply be bypassed.  However, this often creates an unbalanced look.  If the diamond plate area is larger then some type of reflective treatment is necessary.

There are several very effective ways to make diamond treadplate reflective.  All of the materials can be purchase at our online store www.reflectiveshapes.com


Reflective DOTS for Treadplate – 3/4″ reflective dots can be placed onto the flat area between the diamonds to create a reflective surface.  Dots or circles are easy to apply and seem to be easier to line up.  When using dots or circles you should keep in mind that you are getting about a 44% coverage ratio on the treadplate.  To achieve a 50% overall coverage you would need to have some solid chevron striping on the back of the truck as well.  The image at the top of this page is a good example.  One secret to applying circles is to push each one into the same corner on the diamond plate pattern.  (versus trying to center each one.)  This will guarantee a perfect line.  We have more information on the reflective circles at this link.


Reflective Squares or Rounded Squares – squares or diamonds that are 3/4″ in size also work very well.  They give you a 65 – 75% coverage ratio which is much better than circles.  If the entire back of a truck was diamond plate then covering the area with squares or rounded squares would achieve the NFPA recommendation.  Apply the rounded squares is a peel and stick process.   To get them straight you can make a faint, straight line with a pencil and then apply.  You can click here for more information on the reflective rounded squares or standard squares.


Reflective Overlays – overlays cover even more than squares and are easier to line up.  With an overlay you can cover 4 spaces at once which makes application about 4 times faster.  A coverage ratio of plus 80% can be achieved with this method.  The ones shown to the left are cut from Reflexite V98 series film.  This is a conformable and repositionable tape which makes it very popular with fire departments and graphics companies.   It is a peel and stick application.  We have more information on the reflective overlays at this link.


NFPA 1917 1901 Chevron Strips

Reflective Chevron Strips (Style A or B) – our chevron strips are an easy way of creating 6 inch wide highly reflective stripes on diamond plate. They are custom cut to fit around the diamonds. It takes just seconds per decal to install. This is the fastest method that we know of for applying reflectivity to diamond plate.  We have two styles to fit two diamond plate layouts. Some diamonds are right at 1″ from tip to tip and some are 1/16″ less than an inch. We have these available at www.reflectiveshapes.com .


Reflexite V98 Conformable Chevron Striping – if you want 100% coverage you can simply use a conformable sheeting like the new Reflexite V98 material.  This material will conform over the diamond plate.  We have had good success with it, however, you may want to try a sample piece on your diamond plate to be sure you get the conformability you need.  One thing that we found effective was to lay the yellow down first and then overlap the yellow with the red.  (red on top) This seems to create a better seal since the red is a little more flexible.  We have the Reflexite Conformable V98 material on our main website.


Reflexite V98 Conformable Reflective Chevron Striping




Making Diamond Treadplate Reflective Using Dots, Circles, Squares or Panels – Article 1

Free Sample Pack.  Most firetruck manufacturers integrate diamond plate (treadplate) into their vehicles.  On horizontal surfaces this creates a nice non skid surface.  When applied vertically it does look good, however, it creates a problem when the fire department wants to make that area reflective.  This is especially relevant on the rear of the vehicle where the NFPA 1901 guideline states that 50% should be striped with reflective yellow and red chevrons.  On flat surfaces the chevrons are easily created using red and yellow Rolls of Reflective Striping. On tread plate or diamond plate reflective patterns or stripes can be created using 3/4″ dots, rounded squares or reflective appliques (panels).  The 3/4″ dots are applied to the flat area between the raised treads.  Specially designed reflective appliques/panels/overlays can be placed over the treads for more coverage.  Applying the dots, squares or overlays is a little time consuming but very simple.  Since the dots or overlays sit below the treads they are somewhat protected.  When using reflective dots or squares it is also easy to create numbers or letters within the diamond plate.

We carry the 3/4″ dots, 3/4″ rounded squares, 3/4″ squares and overlays in a highly reflective prismatic material called Reflexite V98.  All provide a viable solution to making diamond plate reflective so that it conforms to the NFPA 1901 standards.   They can be ordered at www.reflectiveshapes.com .  The pictures below show the 3/4″ dots installed on a fire truck.  As you can see, the result is amazing and as I stated before, very simple.  Just peel and stick.

Taken with a flash camera.

Custom Die Cut Reflective Shapes or Overlays (CAD Cut)

Custom Designed Die Cut or CAD Cut Reflective Shapes online store

Reflective tape is readily available in sheets and rolls.  However, for many applications a particular shape is needed to solve a night time visibility issue.  For example, the spaces between diamond plate can be made reflective by using a shape that fits the area between the diamonds.  The back of an iphone can be made reflective by custom cutting a shape that fits.  We have several shapes and sizes pre priced at www.reflectiveshapes.com .   However, the shapes that we can design and cut are unlimited.

The job pictured below is going on a fire truck.  To have a custom shape designed and cut you would simply send the actual object to use as a template or send a tracing of the shape that you want.  A sample would be designed and mailed out as a proof if necessary.  Once the shape is verified we would begin cutting them in volume.  Pricing varies depending on complexity and amount of material used.  For example, the shapes to the left are about 3.5″ square and run 50 cents each.  In some cases design time is free and in others there is a charge.  The size of an order and the complexity of the design are both factors in this cost.

Letters and numbers can also be cut in volume.  We use Reflexite’s V98 series reflective sheeting for all of our shapes.  This material is conformable and repositionable making it very easy to work with.  It is prismatic and very bright.  At the present time we carry white, blue, red and fluorescent lime yellow and fluorescent orange.