WHY LIME YELLOW?
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
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
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?
We hope this helps explain the reason for lime yellow instead of red!!