What Color Beacon Should I Use?

What Color Beacon Should I Use?

Does the color of a beacon matter? That depends on the application. In our society, different colors have different meanings. Furthermore, some jurisdictions put restrictions on what color light you can use on public thoroughfares, for example. So how do you know what color is best to use for your application? The list below can help you decide.

Amber/Yellow -- This color is popular beacon color for a variety of applications. In particular, amber and yellow beacon lights are used as warning lights for slow moving or stationary service vehicles on public thoroughfares. They are also commonly used for public and private road construction, visibility on construction sites and vehicle visibility on interior airport thoroughfares. Amber and yellow beacons are also appropriate use for building warning light applications to encourage caution or heightened awareness of potential hazards.

Red -- The color red is usually associated with emergency situations and is widely accepted as appropriate for emergency workers and vehicles, especially fire fighters and police. In some jurisdictions, use of a flashing or revolving warning light on vehicles using public thoroughfares is restricted to fire and police departments. In buildings or at industrial facilities, red beacons can be used to warn of the presence of a hazardous process or condition. Red is also used to warn people to stay away from an area that poses a risk or hazard.

Blue -- In many jurisdictions, blue lights are only allowed to be used by law enforcement personnel in certain public places such as streets and highways. Blue beacon lights may also be used in some cases by EMT's and firefighters, depending on the particular jurisdiction. Use of blue lights in buildings or on properties where the blue light is not visible to nearby public thoroughfares may be permissible. If you are not certain about the appropriate use of blue warning lights in your particular locale or application, we recommend that you consult with local officials.

Green -- The color green is often associated with safety or in some cases, security. Some facilities use green beacons on the vehicles used by safety representatives. Other common uses of green beacons are for those who respond to emergencies in their communities such as Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT).  Green beacons are also used on mobile command posts by fire chiefs to denote that a command vehicle is on the scene. In some jurisdictions green beacons are used by vehicles guiding funeral processions.

Purple/Violet -- In some jurisdictions, purple or violet beacon lights are used to denote vehicles guiding funeral processions.

White/Clear -- White is often used as a secondary light color in light bars on vehicles. This type of beacon is considered to be general purpose in its use with little or no restriction on the application. Some jurisdictions require the use of flashing white beacons on school buses or other forms of public transportation. Some railroad companies used white or clear beacons to add visibility to railroad service vehicles.