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* A retroreflective stripe, a combination of retroreflec‐ tive stripes, or Battenburg markings shall be affixed to the ambulance in the following proportions:

  1. (1)  25 percent of the length of each of the cab side surfaces when approached from each side
  2. (2)  75 percent of the length of each patient compartment side surfaces when approached from each side

6.25.2 The stripe or combination of stripes shall be a mini‐ mum of 6 in. (152 mm) in total vertical width.

6.25.3 The 6 in. (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 A retroreflective graphic design shall be permitted to replace all or part of the required striping material on the front and sides of the vehicle if the design or combination thereof covers at least the same surface area as required by 6.25.1.

6.25.5 Any vertically hinged door shall have at least 60 in.2 (38,710 mm2) 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. Where chevrons are used, each stripe in the chevron shall be a single color alternating between two high-contrast colors. 
Where Battenburg markings are used, each box in

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

22 the Battenburg markings shall be 144 in. (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 Sheet‐ ing.

6.25.8 All retroreflective materials that are colors not listed in ASTM D4956, Standard Specification for Retroreflective Sheeting for Traffic Control, Section 6.1.1, shall have a minimum coefficient of retroreflection of 10 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.