Emergency Vehicles & Lighting

Emergency Responder Safety Institute Releases Study on Vehicle Markings and Personal Wearable Flashing LED Lights (Updated 11/30/2023)

Under contract from the U.S. Fire Administration, Cumberland Valley Volunteer Firefighters Association’s Emergency Responder Safety Institute (ERSI) subcontracted with the Light and Health Research Center in the Icahn School of Medicine and Mount Sinai and with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to design and perform a field experiment to investigate the impacts of emergency vehicle marking color, retroreflectivity level and spatial patterns on drivers’ ability to see emergency responders working near their vehicles was carried out, as well as examine the impacts of a wearable flashing LED light. The results of this study are now available in “Impacts of Emergency Vehicle Marking Color, Patterns and Retroreflectivity on Safety-Related Driver Responses: Study Report. The authors of the study are John D. Bullough, Ph.D., with the Light and Health Research Center in the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Scott A. Parr, Ph.D., P.E., with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

New Emergency Lighting Research (Updated 01/05/2022).

The Emergency Responder Safety Institute has partnered with Dr. John D. Bullough ,formerly with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and currently with the Light and Health Research Center in the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and Dr. Scott Parr, Assistant Professor in the Civil Engineering Department at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's Daytona College of Engineering, on a new study of emergency lighting and the visibility of emergency responders to motorists. This study examined the impact of lighting characteristics like color, intensity, modulation, and flash rate on driver behavior while traversing a traffic incident scene at night. The impact of retroreflective chevron markings in combination with lighting configurations, as well as the measurement of “moth-to-flame” effects of emergency lighting on drivers was also investigated.

The results of the research are now available in “Effects of Emergency Vehicle Lighting Characteristics on Driver Perception and Behavior: Study Report.” The experiment design and results are summarized in a ResponderSafety.com news article.

In a conversation with Chief Marc Bashoor, Executive Editor of FireRescue1 and Fire Chief, recorded prior to the study, Dr. Parr explains what they hope to learn, additional research planned for the future, and the lab they are building at Daytona College to support ongoing research that will inform safety practices for emergency responders at roadway incident scenes.”

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