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What Color Lights do Emergency Vehicles Use

Posted by Extreme Tactical Dynamics on Jan 13th 2020

Emergency lights are a crucial part of your emergency vehicle. At Extreme Tactical Dynamics, we understand the need to get your hands on the best lighting available. This is why we offer such a diverse range of choices for people in various emergency services. 

Understandably, you’ll have a few critical questions to ask about LED emergency lights. We get queries from customers all the time, and one of the most common conundrums is what color lights should you choose? 

Well, it may surprise you to learn that emergency vehicles can use a range of different colored lights. Each one can carry a different meaning, so you need to be sure you choose the right color for your profession. Here’s a detailed breakdown of the different color-types and what they mean: 

Amber

With amber light bars, you signal caution to the world. An amber light is used in situations where other motorists need to be aware that something potentially dangerous lies up ahead. This is why you see them next to traffic accidents, or on large vehicles like snowplows or tow trucks. 

Keeping that in mind, it’s handy to get some amber light bars if your work involves providing support during dangerous situations, or carrying out a particularly risky job. When people see your amber light flashing, they’ll know to be cautious. 

Red

Red LED emergency lights signify that there’s a serious emergency somewhere. If other drivers or pedestrians see a red light, they know to get out of the way and let you get to your final destination. It’s effectively a light that’s used to show you have to get somewhere as fast as possible. 

Therefore, if your line of work means that you’re rushing around from emergency to emergency, then you need a red light bar for your vehicle. Without it, you won’t be able to get the authority you need on the roads, and paths won’t clear for you. 

Blue

Most of the time, blue LED emergency lights belong to law enforcement vehicles. They’re most commonly seen on police cars, police bikes, and so on. However, they’re also known to appear on both ambulances and fire engines. In some cases, you may also use blue lights on snowplows. However, this is only the case in some states. 

Blue lights are important because they’re heavily regulated. You can’t just pop a blue light on your vehicles if you don’t have the right credentials. They’re associated with the main emergency services, and this is what people will think of when they see a blue light flashing in their vision. It’s a signal that you’re on a specific mission and have the authority to get there by any means necessary. Blue lights let you bypass lots of road traffic laws as you only turn them on when you have an emergency to attend. 

Green

Green lights have only come into play in recent years. Most of you have probably never even seen one on another vehicle. Why? Well, it’s because green is the color used by government security agencies when transporting someone of importance from place to place. They also use them to protect moving cargo. 

Essentially, you need green lights if your line of work means you do a lot of guarding. Homeland Security often deploys cars with these lights to let people know that they’re protecting or looking after someone/something. Consider it a warning sign that there’s something of value that’s under strict guard. It lets other motorists know that you perhaps need extra space, and it can sometimes be used to move through heavy traffic. 

Admittedly, green lights can seem quite confusing. However, we think the easiest way to remember them is to associate them with protection. So, if you do a lot of protection work, then it might be worth getting a light in this color. 

White

The last color is plain white. Typically, white lights are used for visibility purposes. They don’t signify or symbolize anything, they just exist to make sure people take notice of your vehicle. For this reason, they’re used in so many different ways. White lights are commonly used by emergency vehicles that are stationary. The brightness alerts people to your presence and can be used to light up nearby signs that they need to read. 

Additionally, white lights are sometimes used in conjunction with other colors. When used like this, the white light helps to increase the visibility of your emergency lighting even more. For example, some emergency cars have red and white lights to grab people’s attention and let them know that they’re heading towards an emergency. The same goes for amber and white lights - the amber alerts people to be cautious, while the white improves visibility. 

Other Split Colors

We also sell other split color LED light bars for emergency vehicles. This means you can combine red with blue for an emergency light that shows you’re from a specific emergency services agency, and that you’re heading towards an emergency. 

Almost all colors can be used together to create different meanings. Here’s a look at the split colors you can buy: 

  • Green/Amber - you’re offering protection and displaying caution
  • Blue/Amber - drivers must be cautious of an upcoming problem, and you’re from a law enforcement agency/fire services/an emergency medical technician
  • Red/Green - You’re on your way to an emergency and you’re offering protection/guarding something
  • Red/Amber - You’re going to an emergency location and drivers must be cautious
  • Red/Blue - You belong to a specific branch of the emergency services and you need to get somewhere fast

To summarize, it’s clear that emergency vehicle lighting is more complex than you thought! Before you choose your lights, you have to research the different colors and their meanings. In a some cases, you can’t use a color if you don’t have the correct qualifications and licenses. Hopefully, this article has opened your eyes to the many colors available and what they mean. 

If you need to buy emergency lights for your vehicle, then Extreme Tactical is the place to be. We’ve got a whole host of options available to order online, right this second!

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