Why fire trucks are red: the reasons you didn't know

Yulia PoteriankoLife
Red has long been the traditional color of the fire service

When a big red car with a loud siren is rushing down the street, we know that there is a fire somewhere and we need to let this special vehicle pass as soon as possible. And at this moment, we don't even think about why fire trucks are painted red.

OBOZ.UA inquired about the historical origins of this tradition. It turns out that there are more than one reason.

To attract attention

Of course, the first and foremost reason is the need to draw as much attention to the fire truck as possible. Saving lives depends on how visible it is on the road. The red color is clearly visible in rain, fog, and from a great distance. The siren significantly complements this impression. Drivers and pedestrians alike notice and pass special vehicles.

This approach dates back to the 1900s, when mass production of cars began in the United States. Back then, Henry Ford, the most successful manufacturer of personal vehicles, ironically said that a car could be any color as long as it was black. So in a stream of identical black cars, the red fire truck really stood out.

A historical theory

It is known that in the early days of fire services, people worked in them on a voluntary basis and did not receive money for their noble work. And when it came to the question of what color to paint the service vehicles, red was chosen solely because it was the cheapest paint.

There is an opposite theory. The fire service volunteers allegedly chose red because it was the most expensive and they wanted to show how proud they were of their work. In any case, it is impossible to verify this theory for sure, so both versions now exist more as a beautiful legend.

A modern approach

In fact, nowadays, fire trucks can be found on roads around the world not only in red. Such special vehicles can be white, yellow, blue, orange, green, and even black. However, red is still a tribute to tradition. And it is the most commonly chosen color. Although, for example, in the dark, yellow or light green will be more noticeable.

Earlier, OBOZ.UA explained why they started hanging mirrors in elevators.

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