Chevrons on OKC Area Fire Apparatus

I’m a nerd of all trades. I can have a surface level, even slightly subsurface level, conversation on most any topic. I can go from city operations to transportation to geography to politics to literature and back. It shouldn’t be a surprise that I catch on to odd things.

For instance – back in 2009, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) updated standard NFPA 1901: Standard for Automotive Fire Apparatus. One of the changes deals with “chevron” striping on the back of fire apparatus. The text says “ 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 retroreflective striping in a chevron pattern sloping downward and away from the centerline of the vehicle at an angle of 45 degrees.” AND “ Each stripe in the chevron shall be a single color alternate between red and either yellow, fluorescent yellow, or fluorescent yellow-green.” AND “ Each strip shall be 6 in. in width.” Chevrons, especially retroreflective ones, really help drivers see the rear ends of apparatus as drivers come up to them at accident scenes and other times the apparatus are stopped in the roadway. (Retroreflective means that the tape/graphic can catch light from any direction and reflect it back to the viewer – no longer does a light need to be head on for a graphic to reflect back – road signs are all supposed to be this way eventually… delayed for now though)

This is what applying these standards looks like:



NFPA standards are not laws, so departments are free to adopt, apply, ignore, etc at their own will. That said, I find it interesting the way local departments are applying the standard.

For instance, an image of Midwest City engines from Kisha Henry today:


Oklahoma City has taken a very different approach – mimicking the United States’ flag:


Whether or not the OKCFD version results in the desired effect of NFPA 1901. is up for discussion. OKC did recently decide to change from red and white to red, blue and white warning lights to increase visibility when running code 3 (lights and sirens) and when on scene. That was a noticeable change.


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