Ask any firefighter which color fire engine is the “right” color, and you’ll see him/her get wound up like a rubber band. Lime green or yellow (or, as some of us call it, slime green or yellow) fire engines started coming off the lines in the early 70’s, as some study somewhere said that they were the most visible color. All of these “progressive” departments then went out and either bought their new apparatus with the new lime green, or repainted their old apparatus to the new color. Lo and behold, there isn’t any noticable difference in visibility, the foolish things are covered in lights!!! Also, apparatus drivers would complain that people wouldn’t move out of the way of a slime green truck, morale (supposedly) went down when the change came, and every other complaint you could imagine was leveled against these colors. After a while, most departments went back to their pre-green colors, which is typically red, black-over-red (ie, Chicago) or white-over red. Recent studies have said that white fire engines with a red strip are the most visible, unless there is snow on the ground. Others have said red is best in daytime, but doesn’t show up well at night. The codes for fire apparatus say that there shall be a retroreflective stripe across the vehicle, which should alleviate the night visiblity problem. My theory has always been, if you can’t see the red lights or hear the siren (regardless of the color of the truck), you shouldn’t be driving anyways.
Oh, we’ve had white apparatus since 1954, and 6" red stripes on them since 1992. White’s my personal favorite, if you couldn’t guess.
I can think of no more stirring symbol of man’s humanity to man than a fire engine - Kurt Vonnegut