What's in a marking? Aerial identification numbering of fire appliances

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Emergency vehicles worldwide have unique aerial identification numbering on the rooves for ease of identification for aerial support, particularly if the individuals crewing the vehicle need exigent assistance. Drawing on an actual event from the 2013 Blue Mountains Wildfire, this paper highlights how aerial support from a water bombing aircraft was unable to read the existing black aerial identification numbering of a fire appliance because the black identification number coalesced with the black plumes of smoke emitted by the wildfire. Given the extensive technological development in the application of high visibility markings over the past twenty-one years, the current black and aerial identification numbering used by the New South Wales Rural Fire Service on their fire appliances is far from adequate, doing little to provide optimum safety for fire ground crews in a wildfire. This paper concludes that the current black aerial identification numbering should be replaced with high visibility aerial identification numbering markings because these have greater visibility for aerial support in a wildfire particularly in the colours of red, lime, yellow, orange or blue.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-48
Number of pages15
JournalSalus journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Aerial Identification Numbering
  • high visibility
  • vehicle marking
  • camouflage


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