Fire engine red
About these coordinates     Color coordinates
Hex triplet#CE2029
sRGBB (r, g, b)(206, 32, 41)
HSV (h, s, v)(357°, 84%, 81%)
CIELChuv (L, C, h)(45, 131, 11°)
ISCC–NBS descriptorVivid red
B: Normalized to [0–255] (byte)

Fire engine red, also known as fire truck red in North America, is an informal name for an intense, bright red commonly used on emergency vehicles in many countries on fire service vehicles, such as fire engines. There is no unique shade, although different fire services may have a required specification.[1][2][dead link] The color has long been used,[3] although not by all fire vehicles.


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

Initial research into fire appliance visibility was conducted by the Lanchester College of Technology and the Fire Brigade in Coventry, in the UK in c. 1965. It concluded that under the range of artificial street lighting in common use at the time, yellow better retained its conspicuity than red. Yellow was also more conspicuous in general road conditions in the 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


  1. ^ a b "Fire Engine Red". Archived from the original on 2017-03-11. 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 SS (1990). "Lime-yellow color as related to reduction of serious fire apparatus accidents—the case for visibility in emergency vehicle accident avoidance". J Am Optom Assoc. 61 (11): 827–31. PMID 2081824. Closed access icon
  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 icon
  7. ^ Green, David A. (1978). Emergency vehicle warning systems and identification. NSW Public Works Department. 24pp. ISBN 0724047956.