I often joke with folks outside the Profession that things need to be made “Firefighter Proof.”  This denotes the fact that my mother was right, I ended up with a job where they put my name on my shirt.  Another variation is that this job is all about shapes and colors.  Why else are the drugs in different color boxes, catheters as well, and we color code hydrants based on flow in some places?

But buried in all the jokes about how simple things need to be are some basic shapes and colors that are out in plain sight in the community that help us do our jobs better.

We visited a local cell phone company’s transfer station to train on a new system shutdown procedure.  it seems that if there is a fire in the server and transfer room, the system will handle it but there will be a need to shut down sections of the system, not the entire system.

Inside we saw reflective taping on the floor leading us to the breaker panel.  The tape said “FIRE DEPT SHUTOFF – THIS WAY —>” and it continued all the way to the panel.  At the panel, each switch had a colored reflective tape.  Each area served by that breaker was marked on the floor in front of it by the corresponding tape.  no more wondering which breaker to hit, just remember the color.

Loved it.

Shapes and colors really does work.

If you’re not really concerned about the switching station in your response area, let’s start with the simple ones found in elevators.

SOL_elevator Here is a shot I took at a local shopping mall.  Many places I go have these markings and few rescuers know what it means when a Star of Life is in the elevator well.  And why does this one have it but the one next to it does not?

Think you know?  Do you know?  Formulate your answer, then CLICK HERE to find out what makes this elevator so special.

star floor

Now that we’re in the elevator, we need to know how to get out at the ground level.  In the City, many buildings are on hills so they have more than one exit to street level.  In this elevator, which floor is the ground floor? This panel is pretty straight forward, being in a smaller building, CLICK HERE for a neat collection of photos of panels from around the world. Be glad we have a uniform building and elevator code. That star will get you out on the street level of the marked address. If the building is 123 Main street, that star will get you out on Main street.

All right, how about this reflective sticker on the electric meter at the street level?

What about the house next door with this sticker?

Find out from an article on FFN from Christopher J Naum.

Keep your eyes open out there.


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