NFPA 1917 – Ambulance Reflective Striping

Reflective Chevron Stripes for Ambulances – (

In 2013 the NFPA officially added Chevron Striping guidelines to their recommendations for Ambulances operating in the US. The guidelines are contained within the NFPA 1917 manual. The recommendations are basically a cut and paste from their NFPA 1901 manual for Chevron Striping for Fire Apparatus made official in 2009. It is appropriate to point out that although NFPA guidelines are followed by most all fire and EMS departments, they are actually guidelines and not laws or federal regulations. (Although some states, counties, and cities have made them official requirements)

A copy of NFPA 1917 6.25.1 -6.25.9 is as follows –

6.25* Reflective Striping.

6.25.1* An ambulance shall have a retroreflective stripe, a combination of retroreflective stripes, or Battenburg markings applied in the following proportions:

  1. (1)  25% of the length of each side surface of the cab when approached from either side
  2. (2)  When approached from either side, 75 percent of each patient compartment’s side surfaces.

6.25.2 The stripe or combination of stripes shall be a minimum of 6 inches or 152 mm in total vertical width.

6.25.3 The 6 inches or 152 mm wide stripe or combination of stripes shall be permitted to be interrupted by objects (e.g., receptacles, cracks between slats in roll-up doors), provided the full stripe is conspicuous as the ambulance is approached.

6.25.4 If the retroreflective graphic design or combination thereof covers at least the same surface area as required by 6.25.1, it may be used to replace all or part of the required striping material on the vehicle’s front and sides.

6.25.5 Any vertically hinged door shall have at least 60 square inches of retroreflective material affixed to the inside of the door.

6.25.6* At least 50 percent of the rear-facing vertical surfaces other than glass and lenses, visible when facing from the rear of the ambulance, shall be equipped with retroreflective material. When chevrons are used, each stripe must be one color and alternate between two colors with a high contrast. 
Where Battenburg markings are used –

Each stripe shall be 6 inches (152 mm) in width.

22 the Battenburg markings shall be 144 inches (92,903 mm ).

6.25.7 All retroreflective material shall conform to the requirements of ASTM D4956, Standard Specification for Retrore‐ flective Sheeting for Traffic Control, Section 6.1.1, for Type I Sheeting.

6.25.8 All retroreflective color or materials that are not listed in ASTM D4956, Standard Specification for Retroreflective Sheeting for Traffic Control, Section 6.1.1, shall have a minimum coefficient of retro-reflection of 10 candelas with an observation angle of 0.2 degrees and an entrance angle of −4 degrees.

6.25.9 Any printed or processed retroreflective film construction shall conform to the standards required of an integral colored film as specified in ASTM D4956, Standard Specification for Retroreflective Sheeting for Traffic Control, Section 6.1.1.