Picture someone—radio blaring, cruising down the highway—oblivious to the sirens heading their way… how important does visual identification of an emergency vehicle become?
Although emergency vehicles may cause delays, they are not a nuisance. That emergency vehicle you stop for may be preventing a crime, salvaging property, or saving lives.
TKO Graphix helps over 70 agencies with their emergency vehicles graphics. The key to emergency vehicle graphic design is identification. Tracy White, head of design at TKO Graphix says, “It’s critical for public safety that emergency vehicles are easily recognized and instantly identifiable.”
Until I asked Tracy what was important about designing graphics for emergency vehicles, I never considered how critical identification is. I guess it’s something I’ve taken for granted, but if an emergency vehicle doesn’t immediately look like an emergency vehicle, it becomes a public safety concern. The agencies are doing their part–we, the public, need to do ours.
What To Do When an Emergency Vehicle Approaches
In your lane – Pull over to the nearest edge
In the opposite lane – Be prepared to slow down or stop
(If you are) following – Stay 500 feet behind
Move Over Law – Between 1999 and 2009, more than one emergency worker per month was killed while assisting motorists on the side of the road.* When approaching an emergency vehicle on the side of the road – Move to another lane, if you’re unable to move, slow down to at least 20 MPH below the posted speed limit. *
Keep in mind, police may approach with lights only as to not alert criminal activity with sirens.
Remember to stay alert and look for emergency vehicles. They are serving you and me. Give the right of way to any vehicle flashing red, blue or amber lights. Let them do their job—safely.
FEMA published a pdf (2009), disclosing more information regarding this critical aspect of emergency vehicle identification.
If you’re in law enforcement, or you’re part of a first response team, and would like help with your agency’s vehicle graphics, let us know, or call 1–888-544‑8051.