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 188.8.131.52 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)
184.108.40.206 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).
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.
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.
Steven Cole (Economics, MBA – University of West Florida , Business & Innovation – Stanford University) 22 years of experience in the reflective safety business. Specializing in vehicle accident and rear end collision reduction through increased visibility.