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Why Your Department Should Consider Fire Scene Lighting

Even though it is not required by NFPA 1901, scene lighting is an extremely popular choice amongst fire departments for fire apparatus today. Tasks performed by your crew on fire scenes during the day are inherently dangerous, but the level of risk is elevated even further at night due to the lack of light. Scene lighting instruments are designed to increase visibility at the scene in situations where little light is available, significantly reducing this risk.

In general, scene lighting refers to the system of lights and fixtures your department uses to illuminate large areas of a scene such as a fire ground, vehicle accident, or hazmat incident. Experts today say modern fire scene lighting should be able to hit a scene a hundred yards away.

Fire experts agree that the most important thing when it comes to scene lighting is having a usable light. Your apparatus can have lights all over the place, but if they aren’t producing the right kind or right amount of light or hitting the required areas, then they aren’t much use at the scene of a fire or other emergency. Typically, effective scene lights for fire trucks are equivalent to a 500-watt quartz fixture or a 10,000-lumen or larger LED fixture.

When it comes to the type of scene lighting available, the standard for decades has been quartz halogen on a pole mounted to the apparatus. In the last five years or so, however, this has changed dramatically. LED, or light-emitting diode, has now become the most popular lighting used for scene lighting because the technology is extremely efficient, versatile, and can produce as much or more light than other sources with a relatively small fixture size. LEDs are very good at converting energy to light and can be as much as 10 to 50 times better than halogens depending on the light and the optics.

The downside to LED is that it has a higher cost up front. They also have complicated rating systems that can make them difficult to compare to alternatives.

In the past, it’s been common for fire departments to install four mounted scene lighting poles: one on each corner of the truck. Although this is functional, it means that when you get to a scene, half of your vehicle’s lighting will be directed away from the scene. If your department has invested heavily in LED lighting, this adds up to an excruciating waste of resources.

Command Light is a company that specializes in producing scene lighting towers and fixtures that maximize your department’s use of lighting resources. As a trusted source of elevated fire truck scene lights, Command Light understands the obstacles firefighters face every day and is determined to ensure the ability to see is not one of those obstacles.

Instead of going the traditional route, Command Light developed a new tower technology. With the Command Light alternative, 4 to 6 LEDs are mounted on a single tower that can be maneuvered into the position that is needed to provide the best lighting for each unique scene.

Featuring a patented (US Patent #5303621) movement, Command Light towers can be raised and rotated into endless positions to illuminate ditches, mountain slopes, and other terrain. Your crew can also overhang the tower on the side of a vehicle in Command Light’s exclusive streetlight position. This vantage allows your crew to illuminate work areas and prevent shadows near the side of the apparatus.

Command Light towers deploy in less than 15 seconds with the push of a button, and the truck tower stows just as quickly and easily with the unit’s standard one-touch auto-park feature. Command Light’s backlight option enables the tower’s bottom row of lamp heads to rotate 180 degrees, making it possible to illuminate dual opposing scenes.

When you manufacture your custom fire truck with Metalfab, you’ll have the option to install a patented Command Light scene lighting system in your new vehicle. We highly recommend investing in the LED technology and maneuverable tower that will enhance safety and save your department precious time and resources in the long run.

If you have any questions or would like to get started on the process of ordering your custom fire truck and/or scene lighting system, call us today at 1-800-561-0012 or contact Business Development Manager Ryan Stacey directly at We look forward to being your partner in safety and trusted manufacturer of your quality custom fire apparatus.