Volunteer fire departments dedicate their time, energy, and resources to serve the greater good of their communities. Although they may not have as big of budgets as city-based fire stations, it doesn’t mean they should go without the best quality of lights to help them perform the job well. It also means their needs may vary from the lighting needs of the warning lights on larger fire trucks and other emergency vehicles.
Regardless, top-quality emergency lights for firefighters or any emergency responder are imperative. LED lights and red and blue lights provide durability, high visibility, and less need for replacement, which helps to cut down on costs and ensure a well-lit situation during any emergency run. When it comes to reviewing options for LED emergency warning lights, they are plentiful. They range from grille bars to dash lamps and everything in between. The choice comes down to the specific truck or vehicle needs.
Fortunately, upgrading a volunteer fire department to LED lights versus a halogen or HID flashing lights alternative is an increasingly affordable option. The longevity of LED emergency lights provides a long-term value that older options cannot provide. For example, an LED light lasts up to 50,000 hours, which is 20 times longer than halogen lights and 50 times longer than incandescent versions. That means one bulb will last over 10 years even if used for 12 hours a day every day. For volunteer firefighters, especially, who may be involved in less frequent emergencies, this is a cost-effective option that meets their unique needs.
For every emergency responder and volunteer fire department, it’s important to use a light model that has updated LED technology, quality materials to avoid water damage or corrosion, and size and fit options to meet the requirements of most fire trucks and other emergency vehicles. We have rounded up a few of the best emergency light choices that range in cost, size, and capabilities.
Emergency Lights for Volunteer Firefighters
This light bar uses state-of-the-art Gen III LED technology, which emits powerful light beams and can be seen at a distance in any direction. It provides 15 warning light patterns and 4 traffic advisory patterns that are controlled by the touch of a button. The Avian Eye Fusion Frontier comes with mounting brackets for easy installation. There’s no drilling necessary and there’s also the option of hardwiring the LED light bar directly to an existing switch box.
Despite being one of the more expensive options, the waterproof material and strong, double-layer aluminum frame still makes this a valuable choice for firefighters who face adverse weather conditions and environments. The one-time cost means having a light that can last well over 10 years. The Avian Eye model starts at 37 inches, but goes up to 48-, 55-, or 63-inch light bars as well. Measure where you want to mount the LED light bar to find the right fit.
A less expensive, smaller version is the Aviator TIR Emergency 3W LED Light Bar starting at 18 inches. It is equipped with similar high-grade LED technology as the Avian. The Aviator model also provides 15 warning light patterns and 4 traffic advisory patterns which can be easily controlled. Dual light bars have customized colors (red and blue, for example) that display simultaneously.
The mounting hardware does not require a drill for installation. For Aviator bar sizes of 27 inches or smaller, magnet mounting is provided. However, this is not recommended for any vehicles who move more than 50 mph, which likely is not ideal for city firefighters. Fortunately, larger versions of 37 inches are readily available.
Light bars are typically the most commonly used LED emergency lights. Their rectangular shape are ones that are most notably associated with fire trucks, ambulances, and police cars. Although the Aviator brand starts their models at 18 inches, 37 inches and up is usually the minimum for fire truck use due to the higher speeds of travel. Light bars are also a go-to option for tow trucks due to their classic shape, easy installation, and durability.
An even cheaper option is the Vulture 2 Fusion Frontier 3W Emergency LED Dash/Deck Light. This option gives off a powerful light but is installed on the interior rather than the roof or exterior of a vehicle. This works well in instances of emergency lights for volunteer firemen who may be using their own personal trucks or smaller vehicles to carry out their duties. The dash light comes with a suction cup and is easy to install, no drilling necessary.
This smaller, but mighty light has a lifespan of up to 100,000 hours with 17 available flash patterns. It is just as capable of getting the job done as a larger LED light bar. The Vulture 2 Fusion Frontier also comes with 10 feet of cable, a removable windshield reflector, and sleek durable casing. This lighting option combines the quality of a larger model with the budget-friendly cost many seek. This model ranges in size from 2 to 4, 6, and 8 to fit most needs.
The discreet design of dash lights makes them best situated for interior use. To “install,” it’s as easy as affixing suction cups to stick to the dashboard, perfect for a DIY project. These lights have an extended lifespan and can work on nearly any emergency responder vehicle. Similarly, visor light bars are also best suited for the inside of a vehicle rather than mounting on the roof or exterior. They typically measure 2 inches in thickness and have more modest lengths of 14 or 17 inches.
The options for interior lights likely will come down to the size you need and where you can save on costs to keep the same quality of light. Fortunately, choosing an LED light already puts you at an advantage over other typical lighting options.
LED Grille Emergency Lights
Grille lights are popular due to their customizable options. They can be mounted into small, slim areas and often come in bundles to sync with each other and maximize light. In addition to grille mounting, the emergency lights can be mounted on the bumper, deck, or dashboards.
The Swift series is a top choice for LED emergency grille lights. There are linear and TIR options available with several color choices. Each type of grille light comes with 22 different flash patterns that can run simultaneously or alternate. These lights are available to purchase in bundles and customize to fit your vehicle’s needs. They are waterproof and stand up against harsh weather conditions. It’s an ideal choice for anyone who does not want to mount a light to a vehicle’s hood or wants a light possibly more prominent than what a dash light provides.
LED Running Board Emergency Lights
Compared to the grille light options, running board lights are also slim fits for the exterior of emergency vehicles. They run along the footboards of trucks and vans and normally come in pairs. Running board LED lights provides a strong light source and are highly durable.
The NightHawk brand comes in sizes ranging from 50- to 70-inch lights that can fit along any running board. Each light in this collection has 15 flash patterns designed to draw attention in an emergency situation. They are versatile and powerful and should be highly considered in your search for the best emergency lights.
All LED emergency lights come with a three-year manufacturer warranty and can withstand harsh weather conditions. They are suitable for emergency vehicles ranging from police cars to ambulances to fire trucks. Each type of vehicle and situation calls for a unique lighting situation. Prioritize which aspects are most important to you as you decide which LED lights are the best long-term option. Once you find the brand you like, it’s easy to duplicate efforts and install on all emergency vehicles in your fleet. If you are thinking about upgrading your lighting on your responder vehicle, LED is the way to go.
Emergency Vehicles That Require LED Lights
Firefighters aren’t the only ones who need emergency LED lights. Police officers, emergency responders, construction workers, and tow truck operators all require enough light to be seen in traffic, day or night. They are also looking for the best possible option at the most affordable cost, which is what LED lights provide to anyone who uses them.
Firefighters typically require LED bars for grilles or dashes, while police officers may require specialized options like hideaway LED strobe lights. These type of lights are used primarily by undercover officers who want their emergency lights undetected until they turned on. What works best for one type of vehicle may not be an equal choice for another.
The power of LED lights shine far brighter than a halogen lamp, so its reach may be surprising to those who are newer to the benefits of LED light use. People who have switched are happy with the visibility of even the smaller version of light bars, grilles, and dash lights.
What to Consider Before Buying LED Emergency Lights
Once you’ve decided to upgrade to LED lights, there are several details to consider. Are the lights for a larger fire truck or a smaller van or pickup? Is the choice of brackets versus suction cups important? How valuable is illumination versus light pattern options to you? These are all questions to ask and factors to consider.
First, think about the size of light bar you’ll need to fit your truck or vehicle. LED light bars for emergency vehicles go up to 63 inches, which isn’t necessary for every emergency vehicle. Do you want something that outwardly conspicuous or a light that is a little more discreet? How much lighting will you need and how often will use the vehicle? When you consider the longevity of LED lights, it makes more economic sense to switch from halogen or HID to receive more light use over a longer period of time.
It’s important to also meet your state’s legal requirements for lighting solutions to maintain compliance. Measurement and research prior to buying an LED light can help narrow down the options to pinpoint exactly what will work best. The popularity of LED light use is growing due to the energy efficiency, durability, and visibility the lights provide in multiple situations.
Why Choose LED Emergency Lights
Not too long ago, incandescent and halogen lights used to be the two go-to options. However, LED technology has made this choice a front-runner for use in nearly any situation. They are powerful enough to use both indoors and outdoors, for car interiors and exteriors. People use them for workstations, off-roading adventures, in addition to emergency vehicle use. Better yet, LED lights provide a greater value to anyone who uses them because of their extensive lifespan.
An LED light has an average lifespan that is 10 times greater (if not more) than its alternative. This use means less need for replacement, which cuts down on cost and concern over dependability of finding better light options. LED lights also do not draw large amounts of power, which keeps things running smoothly without overheating or draining batteries. This reliability is extra important in high-risk or emergency situations.
The benefits outweigh those of the light bulbs of yesterday. Plus, the technology has only improved over the years, which has provided far greater options than ever before. LED lights are made of high-quality materials and serve multi-purpose functions. They are affordable, safe, and energy efficient.
Every valuable characteristic of LED lights all come without compromise to the quality of light. By using LED as the primary solution, it provides an enhancement of what used to be more limited options. What originally started as a trend has begun to turn into the more traditional lighting method. When it comes to finding the right fit for an emergency vehicle, quality and durability are among the top two most important factors, which makes LED lights the go-to answer.