Why Are Fire Trucks Red?

Why Are Firetrucks Red

When you think of fire trucks, the first image that comes to mind is a bright red truck. As fire trucks are known for being red, why are they painted this color and what does it mean?

As there are plenty of other bright colors that fire trucks could be painted to make sure that they stand out, why is red the chosen color?

Are there any hidden meanings to the color red that makes it perfect for fire trucks? Or is it just because it is a stand-out color?

This article will explain why fire trucks are red and why they are known for being painted this color.

If you have wondered why fire trucks are red, you can find out the answers to all of your questions here!

The Theories Of Why Fire Trucks Are Red

There are a few different theories as to why fire trucks are painted red and not another stand-out color.

As red is the most commonly associated color with fire trucks, below you will find all of the theories for why fire trucks have been painted this color.

Volunteer Firefighters Using Cheap Paint

One of the first theories for why fire trucks are painted red is due to the volunteer firefighters who used to work for the fire department.

As the fire department consisted of volunteers, they didn’t have a lot of money to spend on painting the fire trucks, so they had to settle for the cheapest paint color.

Red may have been a cheap color to use to paint the fire trucks, giving the fire trucks their signature color.

From this, people believe that this is the reason that red is now associated with firehouses and fire trucks.

Volunteer Firefighters Making The Fire Trucks Stand Out

Although people believe that volunteer firefighters used the red paint as it was the cheapest, there is a theory where people believe the opposite.

Volunteer firefighters were proud of their work, so they wanted to make sure that the fire trucks and firehouses stood out and couldn’t be missed by pedestrians.

Therefore, to make the fire trucks and firehouses stand out, they decided to paint them in the most expensive paint, which could have been red.

This allowed the fire trucks to stand out on the road and become well-known by citizens.

To Make The Fire Trucks Recognizable

As the fire department is an important part of the emergency services that everyone should be familiar with, they must stand out and be familiar to people.

Painting the fire trucks in a dull color wouldn’t stand out in people’s minds the same as a bright and bold color, hence choosing the color red.

Allow Fire Trucks To Be Visible

Allow Firetrucks To Be Visible

We’ve all been there when we are driving down the road and we hear a siren, but we aren’t sure where it is coming from.

Luckily, as the fire trucks are extremely distinguishable, we can see the red truck coming from miles away and we can safely pull over to allow the truck to pass.

Without being so visible, people could become confused about where the siren is coming from.

Although red is not overly visible in the dark, the fire trucks have sirens and lights that allow them to stay visible at night.

This can avoid road accidents as people will still be able to recognize the fire trucks and know when to pull over.

Stand Out Amongst Traffic

This theory dates back to when cars were first introduced onto the roads. When cars were first introduced, they were usually painted black.

In a sea of black cars, it didn’t make sense for fire trucks to blend in, so they needed to think of a bright color that could stand out and make people aware of the presence of a fire truck.

Why Does The Color Of Fire Trucks Matter?

Fire trucks need to be a color that stands out in traffic and red is the color that has been associated with fire trucks the longest.

There are other departments of the emergency services that use different colors, such as the NYPD uses blue, ambulances use white, so standing out is important. And of course sirens and flashing lights help to make the vehicles stick out, especially at night.

If the fire department suddenly started to use a color that was similar to other emergency services, people could become confused.

Are Fire Trucks Red Everywhere?

Although fire trucks are mostly associated with the color red, there are certain places where fire trucks have not conformed to the traditional color.

You can look at many places all over the US and the world where fire trucks are not painted red, but they are painted lime green, yellow, white, green, orange, or other colors. This is to make the fire trucks stand out within the local community and to warn people that they are approaching.

One reason for the additional colors, is that red cars have grown in popularity, so having lime green or other brightly colored fire trucks allows them to stand out even more.

Research has shown that lime green is a color that is visible at night, unlike the traditional red fire truck.

Using the lime green color shows how the color is setting fire trucks apart like the color red used to.

Final Thoughts

To conclude, there are many theories for why fire trucks are red.

These theories range from using the color red as it was the cheapest paint, was the most expensive paint, and to making sure that the fire trucks stood out on the road.

Unfortunately, it is unknown what the real reason is, but it stood out and is now the most commonly associated color with the fire department.

Although fire trucks are commonly associated with red, other places do not use red for their fire departments.

The lime green color that is used in many municipalities is used to get fire trucks to stand out more on the road as red has become a common car color.

Although this helps people differentiate between the two, red is still the most commonly associated color.