This is the second part of three articles written for the Colorado EMSAC Star. The first article in the series discussed the Ambulance Visibility ten-point toolkit for applying markings to emergency vehicles. This second article looks at advertising agency visibility, Battenburg markings and the ongoing chevron debate. The articles should be read alongside the presentation from the Colorado EMS Safety Summit 2010.
EVALUATING NEW TRENDS IN EMERGENCY VEHICLE MARKINGS
Advertising agency visibility, Battenburg markings and the Chevron debate
Example 1 – The competitive markings of Law and Order: Each year the publishers of Law and Order magazine run a Police Vehicle Design Contest which is a great idea and possibly one that should be mirrored by EMS. The judging across fifteen different categories includes a People’s Choice award as well as the tongue-in-cheek “ugly-vehicle” prize. In 2011 the competition attracted 215 entries from police agencies across the United States. In the publishers favour they include a short list of recommendations for marking-up police vehicles.
Looking through the contest images it quickly becomes apparent that there is an almost total absence of fluorescent safety colours or contour markings on the competition vehicles. There are no high-conspicuity formats to be seen as most of the vehicles are painted either jet black, polar white or a combination of the two colors. The remaining vehicles are painted in palettes of the standard dealer colors. While I have no difficulty with police agencies choosing a color that maximizes return at the end-of-lease sale further thought should always be extended to the important issue of visual safety for their personnel working under operational conditions. In most cases these less-than-effective police vehicle markings are ill-conceived after having been applied to the fleet after consulting with a sign-writing firm or an advertising agency…
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