Archive for Saturday, August 12, 2006

City’s green fire fleet will slowly turn red

New era rolls in with traditionally colored truck

August 12, 2006


Lawrence residents once again will be seeing red - when it comes to fire trucks, that is.

Leaders with Lawrence-Douglas County Fire & Medical unveiled their new $695,000 fire truck Friday, and announced that the department is moving away from its unique light green trucks that have been a hallmark since the 1970s.

"Red is the traditional color, and we wanted to get back to it," said Chief Mark Bradford, who took over the top spot in the department in November after the retirement of Jim McSwain. "We would have firefighters from across the country come to Lawrence for various events, and they would see our green trucks and ask us why."

The answer is that in the 1970s city leaders had studies that showed light green actually was a more visible color to motorists than bright red.

Bradford said studies now show that color doesn't have much effect on visibility, which is determined more by the number and placement of lights, sirens and reflective striping.

Once it was determined that the trucks' color didn't make much difference in safety, Bradford said it became apparent that most of the department's firefighters were ready for a change.

"We all like the red," said Brandon Holloman, a paramedic/engineer. "We were kind of known nationwide in the fire industry for our green trucks, but this is what people think of when they think of a fire truck."

Bradford said the department wouldn't undertake the expense of repainting its fleet. Instead, all new trucks will be red.

The quint - which is a type of truck with a 500-gallon water tank and a 75-foot ladder - is the first new fire truck purchased by the city since 2001. It was needed after the city added Fire Station No. 5, near 19th and Iowa streets, to its ranks earlier this year.

The new truck, though, will be based at the downtown fire station at Eighth and Kentucky streets. That station's ladder truck - the vehicle that is able to reach some of the taller buildings in town - has been moved to station No. 5 so it's more centrally located and closer to tall buildings on the Kansas University campus.

In addition to the new color, the truck has several unique features. It will be the first truck in the fire department's fleet equipped with side air bags to protect the crew in case of a collision or rollover accident. The truck also has the ability to spray a foamlike substance, in addition to water, that does a better job of containing some types of fires.

The truck - which was manufactured by Appleton, Wis.-based Pierce - also has a polyplastic water tank, which eliminates the problem of water tanks deteriorating from rust.

Firefighters are receiving training on operating the new truck. It should be placed into service in two to three weeks.


MWIV 11 years, 10 months ago

It's about ltime! Never liked the green. BTW, who approved the architecture on the new fire house out on south Wakarusa? UGLY! Why can't a fire house look like a fire house?

Nikki May 11 years, 10 months ago

I haven't seen the one on Wak, but the new #5 is NICE. If I was a firefighter, I'd want to be there! I'm kinda sad that the green is phasing out, it stands out as different, and I like different. And, I don't like the font of the word Lawrence on the red truck.

rayikeo 11 years, 10 months ago

The color af a Fire truck doesn't make it more or less efficient to fight fires. Green puts out as many fires as red and if you don't see it comming down the street then you should have your eyes checked.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years, 10 months ago

I like the red it just reminds me of being a kid and parades and the pride that comes with being a firefighter. But all the kids around here are going to be like, what happened why they change the truck. Guess it just one of those things as long as they can fight fire the color really is not that a big deal.

Sandra Willis 11 years, 10 months ago

rayikeo posted "if you don't see it coming down the street then you should have your eyes checked."

and your hearing as well. Although, the way some drivers have their Stereo booming- 24/7, they are probably already hard of hearing. Oh well.

fletch 11 years, 10 months ago

Awww, the lime green trucks were cool. Hell, they even admit they gave us national attention.

Bone777 11 years, 10 months ago

I am a firefighter and we are a traditional lot. Greens and yellows are usually used for forest service and Volunteer departments. Red is a traditional city department color. Good for the Chief for going back to the red.

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 11 years, 10 months ago

Just one other thing Lawrence has national attention for. Not all of them are positive, ya know. Thank you, Lynn

Taxpayer 11 years, 10 months ago

Firefighter Holloman is delusional, the Lawrence Douglas County Fire & Medical [LDCFM] isn't known nationwide for anything. It IS known area wide in the fire service for making the incompetent decision to merge the old Douglas County Ambulance Service [DCAS] with the Lawrence Fire Department [LFD]. DCAS employees didn't have to fight fires to keep their rank and position but the LFD firefighters had to become EMT I's or Paramedics on the ambulances to keep their rank. The LDCFM now has a battalion chief from DCAS that has never fought a fire in his life, directing firefighters at fire scenes. We would prefer the firefighters in Lawrence be known for their firefighting capabilities rather than the color of their trucks.

jayhawks71 11 years, 10 months ago

read this, it is about 10 years old, but the human visual system hasn't changed significantly in the past 10 years, so it is probably still valid.

Scooter_Trash 11 years, 10 months ago

Taxpayer sounds like a bitter old retired firefighter who missed a promotion.

Dayna Lee 11 years, 10 months ago

I like the green trucks. I'm gonna have to agree though that I pull to the side of the road when it's a green fire truck or a white cop car. Heck, I pull over for the blue Sheriff's cars too. I think that the green trucks are going to have an interesting place in Lawrence's history and encourage people like the paper to get the pictures while they can.

Janet Lowther 11 years, 10 months ago

Why would they ever choose such a dull color as red for fire trucks?

I expect a nice day-glow yellow with neon blue stripes would be much more visible. Checkered would be even more visible, like the new British police car pattern.

Of course, I don't see either red or green very well: My ex bought some used portable sheds for cheap which she proclaimed to be "eye searing lime green." To me they just looked kind of tan. (As do the fire trucks.)

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