The Different Types of Emergency Vehicle Beacons

Over the last few years, the lighting sector has made significant technological strides, particularly in emergency vehicle lighting. Emergency vehicle lights are primarily designed for notifying other drivers and road users that they should clear the way for an emergency vehicle. The vehicles, in this case, include police vehicles, firefighting trucks, and ambulances. These are also specifically marked, painted, and installed with sound devices.

Most people will only visualize LED light bars for trucks when they think of emergency lighting. Likewise, these are meant to signify the presence of a large truck on roads so that other drivers can leave adequate space for it to pass. 

Lighting beacons are among the most frequently used on emergency vehicles. Before anything else, there are different types of beacons you need to know. This way, the lighting of your emergency vehicles could send a warning properly. Here are its types:

Strobe Beacons

These emit intense light pulses when they flash at intervals of milliseconds. The light pulse used for these beacons will achieve optimal signaling effects and attract maximum attention. There are two categories of strobe beacons, including xenon and LED.

The xenon strobe beacon has a capacitor for the storage of its electrical energy. It will push its light through a flash tube made of xenon in bursts that generate a light pulse. LED strobe beacons use light emitting diodes as their light sources. Though they emit lower light outputs compared to xenon beacons, they have light pulses in a sequence that attract attention. Unfortunately, they might still not be the best in poor visibility weather conditions like snow or frost buildup.

Rotating Mirror Beacons


Hemispherical mirrors encircle the light source used in a rotating mirror beacon. These mirrors will focus their light points in a specified direction while the beacon rotates. This generates a rotating light beam that attracts considerable attention. You can further enhance the signaling effect of your rotating mirror beacon by increasing its rotation speed. The beacons can be used in single lights and light bars.

Flashing Beacons

These attract attention through the periodic on and off switching of their light source. The flashing lights in this option are more visible compared to those beacons, which are always on. Flashing beacons are used for signaling instances where you do not need an extreme warning as that of a strobe beacon and yet you need optimal visibility. Most beacons have a flashing frequency of 1-2 Hz.

Steady Beacons

These emit a constant light and have the weakest signal among all beacons used for emergency lighting. Steady beacons are used where you only need signal pulses of a low threshold. They will also suffice if you want to emit information rather than a warning signal.

States have regulations on what type of beacon lighting will suffice for their emergency vehicles. Some also regulate the mounting of the lights. You can have your emergency beacon mounted on the roof of your car, its sides, or the body. Moreover, you should pay attention to the color of the beacon you choose to ensure it sends the right message in your locality.

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