The NFPA 1901 recommendation deals with the marking of fire apparatus and emergency vehicles. The recommendation covers the application of reflective tape to the rear of the vehicle in the form of chevron striping, the side of the vehicle and the front. Many insurance companies are requiring that stations comply with the NFPA 1901 and most departments are using this as a guideline and are retrofitting older rigs. New trucks normally come standard with the reflective tape pre-installed. For retro-fits Reflective Chevron Striping products can be purchased online.
A Type 1 (engineer grade) is the minimum acceptable type of reflective sheeting that can be used. Other acceptable materials are a Type 3 High Intensity, a V92/V97 Prismatic Tape, a V82 Type 5 tape and a Crystal Grade Type 8 material. The required colors are red and yellow for the back. 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 (62,000 mm2) 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
18.104.22.168* Retro-reflective stripe or stripes 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.
22.214.171.124.1 The stripe or combination of stripes shall be a minimum of 4 inches (100 mm) in total width. (2 – two inch stripes, a 3″ and a 1″, etc.. would meet the criteria)
126.96.36.199.2 The 4 inch (100 mm) 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.
188.8.131.52.3 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 184.108.40.206.
REFLECTIVE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE REAR OF THE VEHICLE
220.127.116.11 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)
18.104.22.168.1 Each stripe used in the chevron design shall be a single color alternating between yellow and red.
22.214.171.124.2 Each stripe shall be 6 inches (150 mm) wide.
126.96.36.199 All of the retro-reflective materials required by sections 188.8.131.52 and 184.108.40.206 shall conform to the requirements of 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)
220.127.116.11.1 All retro-reflective sheeting and materials used to satisfy the requirements of 18.104.22.168 that are colors not listed in ASTM D 4956, Section 6.1.1, shall have a minimum coefficient of retroreflection of 10 candelas with an observation angle of 0.2 degrees and entrance angle of −4 degrees.
22.214.171.124.3 Any printed or processed retroreflective film construction used to meet the requirements of 126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52 shall conform to the standards required of an integral colored film as specified in ASTM D 4956, Section 6.1.1.
Although the NFPA 1901 is not a federal law, most departments conform to it for legal and safety reasons. In the event of an accident, most departments feel that it is best to have taken all precautions available. Our main safety products store can be found at www.colebrothers.com .
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.