Flags on Fire Trucks

Discussion in 'US Flag Display' started by icemanwbb, Sep 20, 2010.

  1. icemanwbb

    icemanwbb New Member

    I am about to buy flags for our fire trucks. I have a vet that says hanging them off the back is disrespecting the flag. Is this true? If so, what is the proper way to display an American Flag from a fire truck?
  2. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    Greetings, iceman -- welcome to the forum!

    I have a vet that says hanging them off the back is disrespecting the flag. Is this true?

    Well, it depends on exactly what's meant by "hanging them off the back." Most fire engines that I've seen fly their flags from fixed pole on the back of the vehicle. The flag code refers to displaying the flag vertically (with the header parallel to the ground), but this is usually done in static displays (indoors, suspended over a street during a parade, etc.), and would probably not look very good if the flag is streaming in the wind behind a moving truck.

    Another consideration is that you'll probably need to replace the flag fairly frequently, because it will become frayed by the high "wind" and discolored by street exhaust and debris.

    The real key to respectful display isn't following a bunch of arbitrary rules -- it's whether or not the flag looks good.

    Peter Ansoff
  3. icemanwbb

    icemanwbb New Member

    Peter, sorry so late, thank you for your input. That is basically where I am on the process. The "mount" is basically however you can do it effectively from the back of your apparatus unless you spec out your pole when ordering your firetruck.

    My proposition will be that our Fire Association buys all the initial setup, poles/mounts, flags and professionally mounts the flags, then the Administration picks up the costs of replacing the flags as they wear, and they do that frequently especially in the winter months with road grime that comes up. There is no real good way to do it.

    I think I am with you, as the "rules" do not apply in this situation, so as long as it looks good we are doing the best we can.

    Is there a particular "authority" I could reference when speaking to my VET on my crew and in my department when this subject comes up?
  4. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    Hello, Icemanwbb,

    Is there a particular "authority" I could reference when speaking to my VET on my crew and in my department when this subject comes up?

    Well, here's what the Flag Code says about displaying flags on vehicles (Section 7b):

    The flag should not be draped over the hood, top, sides, or back of a vehicle or of a railroad train or a boat. When the flag is displayed on a motorcar, the staff shall be fixed firmly to the chassis or clamped to the right fender.

    Obviously, the intent is that the flag should be able to fly freely (not "draped") and should be secured so that it can't fall off. The code does not specifically address fire trucks -- it was clearly written with parade vehicles in mind. However, it sounds like your plan meets the code's requirements. If your vet friend still objects, you could explain that you are complying with the Flag Code, and ask him why he/she thinks that you are disrespecting the flag.

    Good luck -- let us know how it goes. Is there any chance that you might be able to post a photo of your engine and flag?

    Peter Ansoff
  5. engine1shark

    engine1shark New Member

    This was the exact post I was looking for!!!

    We have used flags on our fire engines from time to time (July 4, September 11, etc) but there has never been any rhyme or reason to the placement/protocol

    As I read the Flag code, I saw the "right side" comment referring to vehicle use. We used to run the left side because it was explained to me that the Union stays in the upper right. However the Flag Code does mention the right side, so we have moved it to the right.

    I am now working on a policy and I would like some input from the experts (you members).

    3'x5' Heavy Duty All-Weather Flag
    Securely fastened to the right side vertical grab rail
    Small LED light mounted below the flag shining up on the flag at night
    Spare flag available to be swapped out as the flag becomes dirty. (Proper Cleaning done to dirty flag)

    Does this meet the intent of the etiquette? I know this is going to be a hard sell in our organization but I believe it is more of an excuse from our manager that just doesn't want to deal with it.

    Thank you in advance for any help or information you may provide


Share This Page