Firefighters typically spend most of their time updating equipment and preparing for the next emergency. Any good firefighter knows the importance of having a truck which is outfitted with the best gear. In emergency situations, your truck’s equipment can be the difference between life and death. The emergency warning lights on your firefighting apparatus are no different. Lights on emergency vehicles serve many different functions, from notifying others on the road of the vehicle’s presence, to lighting the roadway itself, to signaling intent to turn left or right. Whatever the function of a specific light, it is important that firefighters have bright, reliable light sources for emergency situations. In this comprehensive article, we will go over some of the main types of lights found on firefighting vehicles, tell you why LED technology is the best option when it comes to such lights, and then give you a glimpse at some of our top picks for firefighter LED lights and volunteer firefighter emergency lights.
Types of Firefighter Lights
Firefighters utilize many different types of emergency lights to satisfy different purposes. In this section, we will go over some of the main types of lights that can be found on a firefighting vehicle, and give you a rundown of what their function is.
Dash lights are a simple variety of emergency light used by firefighters. They are intended for interior vehicle use, and they generally include suction cups for mounting on the dash or on the inside of the vehicle’s windshield. Since dash lights are relatively small, they can usually be run using only power from the vehicle’s cigarette lighter. However, some firefighting vehicles utilize dash lights in a more permanent manner. In these cases, the lights would be wired into the main power source onboard the vehicle. Dash lights come in a variety of lengths ranging from just five inches up to 38 inches.
Light bars are a widely recognized variety of emergency light, commonly found on police vehicles, firefighting vehicles, and other emergency vehicles. While we know these types of emergency lights best as the main light we see on the center of the roof of police cars, they are also one of the best firefighter lights. These firefighter LED lights should be mounted in a highly visible location, as they serve the purpose of alerting others on the roadway that there is an emergency and they should move out of the way. LED emergency light bars can be found in a variety of lengths from 37 inch to 63 inch. If you are in the market for a smaller emergency light bar for use as a firefighter light, the ‘mini’ light bar category includes bars ranging from just 12 inches up to 27 inches. Specialized light bars available for purchase include dual-color light bars, traffic advisor light bars, and tow truck light bars. Traffic advisor light bars are fantastic firefighter emergency lights because they are capable of directing traffic flow at the scene of an accident.
Grille lights, which are otherwise known as surface mount LEDs, are a variety of LED emergency light which attaches to the firefighter’s grille. They are slim and made for fitting into the tight spaces in between parts of the grill. These lights are very customizable. They generally come in bundles of multiple 4 or 5 inch long lights which are wired together to work in unison. Grille lights are one of the top types of firefighter emergency lights for full-sized firetrucks because the grille of a firetruck is one of the only areas on the front of the truck where emergency lights can be mounted.
Running Board Lights
Running board lights are, as the name suggests, emergency lights which are meant to be mounted directly onto the vehicle’s running boards. Running boards are the long, narrow steps which are fitted to the sides of vehicles, most commonly trucks, underneath the doors. They function as both a step for those entering and exiting the high-clearance vehicle, as well as a form of armor for the vehicle itself. Running board lights are very common firefighter lights because firefighters utilize trucks with running boards quite often. Generally, running board lights are sold in pairs, because one long light is needed for each side of the vehicle. They vary in length from around 50 inches up to 70 or 80 inches.
Beacon lights are versatile emergency lights which can be employed as firefighter lights in certain applications. Beacon lights are singular, cylinder-shaped lights which display flash warning patterns. You might recognize them from older movies during which a detective or police officer places a beacon light equipped with a magnetic base on the roof of their car at the beginning of a high-speed chase or other emergencies. Modern beacon lights are capable of running directly off of a cigarette charging outlet. In firefighting scenarios, they can be useful for smaller firefighting vehicles as well as volunteer firefighting vehicles. Beacon lights are a versatile, cheap, and easy to deploy firefighter emergency light.
Why LED Firefighter Lights?
Now that you have a better idea of the different varieties of emergency lights that can be used on firefighting vehicles, you may be wondering: Why LED firefighter lights? The answer is that LED technology is the future for many different categories of lighting, including emergency lights. Following are the primary reasons to choose firefighter LED lights as opposed to outdated halogen or HID style lights.
The primary reason that LED technology is pulling away from the rest of the field in lighting is efficiency. LED lights are capable of producing the same amount of light as other technologies while using only 20 percent of the energy. On firefighting vehicles where power is being drawn by multiple other lights, sirens, and other utilities onboard, this is a major benefit. You can rest assured that you will not lose any brightness, despite the reduction in power consumption. All of our firefighter lights meet brightness standards, without sacrificing their fantastic energy consumption ratings.
LEDs are a slightly more expensive option than older styles of firefighter lights, but is the small extra investment worth it? If you are not already convinced of such, consider this: LED lights typically have a lifespan of between 30,000 and 50,000 working hours. This equates to around thirteen times the lifespan of comparable halogen lights, so for every 13 halogen firefighter lights you might buy, you will get the same amount of light output out of one set of LED lights. Plus, in the case of firefighter emergency lights, although the lights need to be run for considerable periods of time in certain cases, they usually will not be run very often when compared to a light such as a vehicle headlight. So, it is not uncommon that firefighter LED lights outlast the vehicle that they are mounted on.
You never know what type of scenario your firefighting vehicle will find itself in. All that matters is that when there is an emergency, every component onboard is up to the task. With LED firefighter lights, you can rest assured that your emergency lights will not be the vehicle’s weakest link. LED lights are comprised of many tiny, shatterproof bulbs rather than a few large bulbs made with delicate filaments. As long as their housing is equally as rugged as the bulbs (all of LED Equipped’s emergency lights are high-quality and durable), LED lights are far more durable and break-resistant than halogen or HID technologies. You can be confident that your firefighter lights will function as intended in any adverse conditions they are exposed to.
Best Firefighter LED Lights
Here is our short list of LED Equipped’s top Firefighter lights. Enjoy!
Best Dash Light for Firefighters: Vulture 2 Fusion Frontier 3 Watt 10 in
This 10-inch dash light is a popular and versatile choice for firefighters. The light comes as a package with your choice of either suction cups or L-brackets for more permanent mounting. It also includes a removable windshield reflector, a cigarette plug with an easy on/off switch, and ten feet of cable. This dash light features the latest in LED technology, meaning maximum efficiency that allows this light to be rated up to 100,000 hours of use. Users can choose between 17 different flash patterns, while smart memory automatically employs the last pattern to be used. A durable double-layer aluminum frame ensures that nothing will damage this light, even in offroad scenarios. By utilizing Linear LED technology, this dash light emits a powerful signal – easily visible in both nighttime and daytime hours.
Best Light Bar for Firefighters: Avian Eye Linear Emergency 3 Watt LED Light Bar 48 in
This 48-inch emergency lightbar is top-of-the-line equipment for firefighting vehicles. The light bar includes fifteen warning light patterns, as well as four traffic advisory patterns which are very useful for emergency scenes when traffic needs to be directed. The package includes mounting hardware, and easy instructions for wiring into the existing vehicle switch box, keeping all your controls easily at hand in one place. Additionally, ten feet of high-quality wire are included with your purchase. Each LED module and flasher board on this light bar are epoxy coated, and the unit is encapsulated in a durable material that is also waterproof. Couple the waterproofing with a durable double-layer aluminum frame, and you have one of the most rugged light bars available today.
Best Grille Light for Firefighters: Swift 3.0 Fusion Frontier 3 Watt 6 LED Emergency Vehicle Grill Warning Light Head
This durable and highly visible grill light features six state-of-the-art Gen 4 LED bulbs which are capable of producing strong rays of light, visible during the daytime as well as at night. The bulbs can flash in alternating or simultaneous patterns, with 22 total patterns available to choose from. Durable materials and housing mean that this light is both vibration and water resistant, making it plenty rugged for firefighting tasks. This light can be wired into your switch box and synchronized with your other LED emergency lights.
Best Running Board Light for Firefighters: Nighthawk 3 Watt Running Board LED Lights 60in
These versatile emergency lights are sold as a set of two, one for each side, and also come in 50 inch and 70-inch lengths. These stealthy lights offer maximum visibility so that other vehicles can clearly see the sides of the firefighting vehicle, without compromising the function of the running boards. Of course, these lights include a waterproof housing for wet and dusty conditions. Plus, they can be configured to display any of the 15 different flash patterns of emergency vehicle lighting available.
Best Beacon Firefighter Light: Eagle-Eye LED Emergency Strobe Beacon Light
This extremely versatile beacon light can be mounted magnetically for easy application and removal, or screwed more permanently to the roof of the firefighting vehicle. Both mounting options are included with purchase. The housing is made of tough waterproof polycarbonate plastic for complete weather resistance and durability. Using CREE LED technology, this beacon light provides intense light during both day and nighttime hours. Simple wiring allows this quick-deploying beacon light to simply be plugged into the cigarette outlet, making it a great option for part-time volunteer firefighters.