Fire engine red

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A typical fire engine red
About these coordinates     Color coordinates
Hex triplet #CE2029
sRGBB  (rgb) (206, 32, 41)
CMYKH   (c, m, y, k) (0, 89, 80, 19)
HSV       (h, s, v) (357°, 89%, 81%)
Source [1]
B: Normalized to [0–255] (byte)
H: Normalized to [0–100] (hundred)

Fire engine red is an informal name for an intense, bright red commonly used on emergency vehicles in some English-speaking countries on fire service vehicles. There is no unique shade, although different fire services may have a required specification.[1][2] The colour has long been used,[3] although not by all fire vehicles.

Support 42 in Butte County, California. US
A red fire appliance with half-Battenburg side markings at Manchester Airport, UK

Most traditional older fire departments in larger US central cities of major metropolitan areas use this color for their fire engines, but many suburbs and smaller cities now use the color lime or bright yellow for their fire engines because of its greater visibility at night. In the UK the fire service has added the more visible Battenburg markings in fire-engine red and retro-reflective yellow,[4] often on a predominantly red vehicle.

The initial research into fire appliance visibility was conducted by the Lanchester College of Technology and the Fire Brigade in Coventry, UK in about 1965. This research concluded that under the range of artificial street lighting in common use at the time, yellow better retained its conspicuity under a variety of lighting color renderings than red. It was also more conspicuous in general road conditions in daytime and during inclement weather. Research conducted by Stephen Solomon, a New York optometrist, promoted the use of 'lime yellow' in the United States from the mid-1970s. Solomon conducted studies of the rate of vehicle accidents involving fire apparatus, concluding that the more conspicuously colored fire apparatus suffered a lower accident rate than the less conspicuous red used by the same fire department [5][6]

Further research supporting the use of yellow for all emergency vehicles was published in 1978 in Australia.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Fire Engine Red". Retrieved 1 January 2014. 'Fire Engine Red' is a shade of Red that is 84% saturated and 81% bright. It has the hex value #CE2029. Pantone color #1795 is a 96% match.
  2. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions (about fire vehicles)". John Dennis Coachbuilders. Retrieved 22 November 2016.  "The most popular shade of red is Post Office Red (BS381c538)" This is a cherry red, #9D383A
  3. ^ "Dennis Fire Engine - Trailer Pump of 1913". Dennis Society (concerning Dennis fire vehicles). Retrieved 22 November 2016. 
  5. ^ Solomon, 1990, "Lime-yellow color as related to reduction of serious fire apparatus accidents—the case for visibility in emergency vehicle accident avoidance", Journal of the American Optometric Association, 61(11), pp. 827-830, ISSN 0003-0244closed access publication – behind paywall
  6. ^ Solomon, S S; King, J G (1995). "Influence of Color on Fire Vehicle Accidents". Journal of Safety Research. 26 (1): 41–48. doi:10.1016/0022-4375(95)00001-1. closed access publication – behind paywall
  7. ^ Green, David A, 1978, Emergency vehicle warning systems and identification, NSW Public Works Department, 24pp, ISBN 0724047956

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