The ‘Cat’s Meow’ of  Lighting

I have to say that lighting technology has come a long way since the seventies. When I first started riding rescue/EMS we were using rotating beacons with sealed beam lights inside. They either had two or four bulbs and pulled a tremendous amount of power. The trucks were equipped with 500 amp Leece Neville alternators to try and power all the lights and sirens.


Photos by Al Ward

And no, our trucks were not pulled by a pair of well trained horses. I will say that when you fired up the “Q” siren, all the lights would stop turning and dim to almost invisibility.

Soon to follow were the halogen bulbs, which were brighter and did pull less power. They still had quite a bit of demand on your power system. They also were being used in hand held lights as well. As time went on, we saw the onset of the strobe lights. Not useful in hand lights, but great for emergency vehicles, as they pulled far less power and were even brighter. The halogens were still the norm in flashlights and the new-to-the-scene, headlamps.

As technology would have it, we have now evolved into the world of LEDs. As with most new technology, they were somewhat expensive when they first came about. But, as time went on, the prices soon came down, and now they are the norm for emergency lights and all types of hand held lights. The plus is they pull much less current, last a long time and are extremely bright. Not sure what will come along next, but right now they are the “Cat’s meow.”

Going to look at two different lights this time, one on the public safety side and one came from the industrial side, but could have a positive public safety spot. This light is called Baton Traffic Flare and it’s made in the USA by AERVOE. The light is extremely durable. It has a heavy polymer plastic housing that makes the light waterproof and crush proof. The light also floats and resists corrosion. It is 12 inches long and two inches wide. With it being flat on one side with a magnet connected, that allows you to attach it to a metal surface. There is also a magnet on the bottom for the same purpose and also used for ease in charging. It has seven slots that line both sides with LED lights that flash red in several different patterns. It can be seen up to one mile. The baton also has a clear LED light on the end for use as a flashlight. It has a rechargeable battery and comes with a 120 volt charger and a 12 volt car charger. I was impressed with the light’s capabilities and it’s ruggedness. The light is sold through HES, Inc., and you can visit the website at

The other light I came across is made by Night Stick from Bayco Products, Inc. They have quite a large variety of lights from headlamps to flashlights and more. I tried out the Low Profile Dual-Light Headlamp. I found the headlamp would fit multiple rescue helmets which is a plus. The light is low profile so does not cause a problem on the helmet itself. It tilts for better angles and has a heavy duty rubber type strap. The housing of the light and battery pack is heavy duty and I think it could take the abuse we put on equipment. The light has two separate beams at three intensities. One light is a wide angle beam and the other is a spot. At high they put out 450 lumens and last over three hours. At low, they last over 10 hours and put out 125 lumens. Both lights have three levels and can be used as single or doubles. The rear battery holder has an amber light that will operate in a constant or flash mode for locating the rescuer or firefighter in a smoke or dark environment. The light uses standard AA batteries, has a water rating IP-X7 and will withstand a one meter drop. You can find out more about their products at

Next issue we will be looking at more new toys for the jobs we do. Stay safe, stay hydrated, and we’ll see you next time.

If you have any questions or comments, please shoot me an email at Until next time, train hard, be safe, and know your equipment.

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