Early in the 1970’s the Federal Traffic Safety Board conducted a study to determine the safest and most visible color for fire apparatus. After several tests of various colors they determined that lime yellow was the most visible color to the human eye under all light conditions.

At about the time this study was released several fire departments on the east coast were switching their fire trucks to this color. Several articles appeared in national fire publications regarding this study and the fact that many fire departments were breaking the “red tradition” and switching to lime yellow for the safety of their personnel and the public.

It was now 1973 and Hamden was in the process of ordering the first new fire truck since 1950. Then Fire Chief Bob Rodgers had read the articles about lime yellow and during the ordering process brought the issue to the attention of the members of the Hamden Fire Department. The department decided to break the “red tradition” and order their new truck lime yellow. After the arrival of the new truck in late 1973 Hamden Firefighters and residents liked the “new color” so much that they had all of the remaining trucks painted lime yellow.

During the 70’s many departments across the United States switched to lime yellow. Some liked it, some didn’t. Some have stayed with the color and others have let tradition rule their decision and have switched back to red.

During the 1980’s the National Fire Protection Association actually considered passing a rule recommending that all fire trucks be lime yellow due to the safety factor. But once again tradition won out and the rule never passed.

It is the feeling of the Hamden Fire Department that we will always be a little less traditional in it’s color selection and stay lime yellow because lime yellow is “our” tradition now. We feel it’s a safer color and besides we think it sets us apart from the rest of the crowd somewhat! After all, what if everyone drove the same color car?    HOW BORING!

We hope this helps explain the reason for lime yellow instead of red!!

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