For emergency vehicles, emergency lights are essential for guaranteeing the safety of employees and the general public by increasing their visibility. However, installing these components often ranges from simple to complex, depending on the type of light installed, the car they are being installed on, and the readily available equipment.

In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about emergency vehicle light installation and a few tips to remember along the way. Continue reading below to learn more and find out how TCS Upfitting can help you with your next emergency vehicle light installation.

Important Things to Know About Emergency Vehicle Lights

Before you begin installing emergency lighting onto your vehicle, there are some crucial things you should know.

For one, all lighting systems are different and should be treated as such. The pattern, color, and brightness of the lights make a big difference. You should consult local guidelines to make sure you’re installing the correct lighting.

For example, if the lights are too bright, they could pose a safety risk on a dark and rainy night. Lights should be at their brightest during the day, and they should be dimmed at nighttime so other drivers aren’t blinded.

Additionally, the color white should be absent from all rear vehicle lights. Some lights can even be changed on the fly to fit different situations. Make sure you are aware of what you are installing before you begin the process.

Installing Your Emergency Vehicle Lights

Installation guidelines for emergency vehicle lights often vary, especially for attachments such as LED light bars and concealed lights. Before getting started, be sure to verify any local laws and regulations before purchasing and installing emergency lights on your vehicles. If you are preparing to install emergency vehicle lights, here is a brief overview of what to expect.

Identify Voltage

The 120v wire, 277v wire, common wire, and ground wire are the four types of wires that come with your emergency light. These cables are color-coded for easy identification. To figure out which wire is which, consult the instructions that came with your specific lights.

You’ll need to build a connection between the circuit and the light fixture. 120v (most commonly black) and 277v (most commonly red or orange) are the most common voltages, and each has its own color-coded wires. A ‘C,’ which is the common wire, will also be present. The final wire that may or may not be provided with your product is a grounding wire (most commonly green).

These wires should be connected as follows.

  • 120v
  • 277v
  • Common
  • Ground

Connecting the Wires

You should always connect your light and double-check that the current is working and that your power supply is safe. Connecting your emergency vehicle lights to a nearby power supply is always the first step. The current should be connected as follows.

  • Power Supply
  • Emergency Light Unit
  • Battery

Mounting Your Light

Mount the emergency light on the top, side, or back of the vehicle according to the directions. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, your specific unit will come with instructions that detail how to attach it, which will vary depending on the product and vehicle it’s mounted to.

In most cases, a backplate will be included with your device, and this must be installed before the lights, which will either snap or screw into place. Place the lights where they will not be subjected to extreme heat or weather damage.

Install the Switch

When you’re in the driver’s seat, you’ll want to keep the switch where it is easily accessible to the driver. The cabling from the switch to the battery and the emergency lights will then be required, so be sure that it is installed at the most convenient location, as it must be both accessible and practical.

Connect the Battery

After you’ve installed the switch, you’ll need to drill several holes to connect the battery. After drilling the hole, you’ll then feed the cables into the control box through that hole.

While there are various methods for completing this step, including cutting through the top light and putting conduits through the car’s frame, which is the most common, it all depends on the vehicle in question.

Test the Lights

After you’ve completed your installation and inserted the battery that came with the device, it’s time to test the lights to ensure everything is connected correctly.

Recommended Read The Ultimate Guide to Emergency Vehicle Lights

Tips for Installing Emergency Vehicle Lights

If you’re considering installing emergency vehicle lights on your own, here are a few things you should keep in mind while doing so.

  • Respect Electricity
  • Make Sure Your Source Is Live
  • Follow the Instruction Manual
  • Hire a Professional

Respect Electricity

It should come as no surprise that installing emergency vehicle lights requires the use of electricity, which may necessitate the need of an electrician, depending on the complexity of the installation. If you’re doing the wiring yourself, be sure not to put yourself in danger of potential electrocution.

Before you start wiring your emergency vehicle lights, make sure your cables are grounded and the power source is turned off, just like you would with any other major electrical installation.

Make Sure Your Source Is Live

To work effectively and emit a sufficient amount of light, emergency vehicle lights require a sufficient quantity of voltage. You’ll need a lot of electricity for emergency vehicle lights and there’s nothing worse than getting your unit installed only to discover your transformer is dead or your car battery can’t keep up with the lights on its own.

Check to see that the power source you’re intending to connect your emergency lights to is live and has adequate voltage to support the lights before attaching them to your vehicle.

Follow the Instruction Manual

To avoid making any mistakes and putting yourself in danger of electric shock, make sure to follow the instruction manual that should be included with your police and emergency vehicle lights. These instruction manuals should contain installation guides, a list of required equipment, and potential safety hazards.

Hire a Professional

Installing emergency vehicle lights might seem like a do-it-yourself project, but if you are unfamiliar with electrical wiring, you may be better off leaving the task to a professional. A professional will incorporate all of the recommendations mentioned above and safety guidelines, and they will ensure that nothing goes wrong during the installation process.

Recommended Read Important Upgrades to Consider for Emergency Management Vehicles

Contact TCS Upfitting for Help Installing Lights, Sirens, and Other Vehicle Equipment

The process of installing emergency vehicle lights is always structural specific, so be sure to follow the criteria for your particular vehicle and follow all of the necessary safety information. We hope the information above has clarified some of the processes for your next emergency vehicle light installation.

At TCS Upfitting, we recognize the importance of high-quality craftsmanship, especially regarding emergency vehicle lights, as they are very important to the safety of first responders and civilians. Our team of specialists is professionally trained and passionate about what they do, and they stand behind the work they complete.

To learn more about how we can assist you with your next light installation and the other ways that we can upfit emergency vehicles like police cars, fire trucks, and ambulances, give us a call at (316) 333-5341.