Code 3 Podcast: Should fire apparatus really be red?

Dr. Stephen Solomon – an optometrist and veteran firefighter – explains the data on what color apparatus is safest

What color is a fire apparatus? Well, if you’re a fan of traditional fire helmets, then I assume you’d prefer your apparatus to be red – you know, fire engine red.

But for years, since the 1970s, in fact, there’s been that nagging question of conspicuity. What color is safest? What color do drivers see most readily? In today’s world of highly distracted drivers, does color matter?

Dr. Stephen Solomon has taken a look at the data that’s been collected and has some answers to share with us. Keep in mind that Soloman is an optometrist. He’s also a veteran firefighter, with 17 years as a captain and 17 years as a fire commissioner. He is a hazmat tech and TRT supervisor in Tioga County, New York. Perhaps most important to this discussion, he’s worked on projects to make fire apparatus safer. And you know that reflective and fluorescent trim on your turnouts? He worked with 3M to develop that.

Read next: Why are fire apparatus red?

Editor’s Note: What color fire apparatus do you prefer? Share your opinion at

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