Exactly what is a Beacon Light…?

Exactly what is a Beacon Light…?

Beacon lights provide warning, signal and guidance with their powerful light and colour – they play a vital part in providing safety to the world we live in. Their powerful light attracts instant attention to the end-user and even if the end-user does not understand the colour code, they will immediately understand to proceed with caution from the bright light.

Different types of beacon lights and different colours are utilised in different applications and situations to provide warning and guidance to the public. Below are just a few examples of colour and industry requirements:

Colour Requirement:

·        Red beacons usually indicate danger, hazards, and emergency situations. The colour red is considered as a powerful signal that can trigger an automatic message to any viewer.

·        Amber/Yellow beacons are used to warn people to be cautious and to be aware that a hazard may be upcoming. This colour triggers people to slow down instinctively.

·        Green beacons indicate safety, it delivers a message that a particular situation is currently being handled and the area is safe. This colour offers people assurance that everything is under control.

·        Blue beacons are most commonly used on emergency vehicles, they provide a clear difference to when red beacons are being used ensuring the viewer can differentiate between the emergency situation at hand.

·        Clear beacons are often used alongside other coloured beacons and are often used in offices and schools as an alternative indication left open to the end-users specific requirements.

Industry Requirement:

·        Emergency vehicles tend to use rotating beacons. They are extremely effective as they have an extremely high light output and are suitable in vibration atmospheres.

·        Aviation industries tend to use a solid red beacon which provide a very specific angle and brightness of light. They are used to guide pilots onto a runway and are also used on tall buildings as a further guide to pilots.

·        Rail industries tend to use red wig-wag lights which flash alternatively to help those outside the train to take notice of the approaching vehicle.

·        Marine industries require a very high IP rated beacon light and is commonly the colour red as it is mostly used at night and this colour provides an unmistakable warning.

·        On roads, traffic management systems use many different types of lights from red cross warning to green walking man, you will most commonly see a red/amber/green traffic light. It provides a simple and effective instruction for the road user and pedestrian alike. 

Warning beacon colours explained

Warning beacon colours explained

Beacons convey strong and vital messages in the colours they use; they allow people to become aware of their surroundings and any possible dangers that might be on-coming. Beacons deliver clear messages not only in their colour, their position, place and time of use.

Knowing the meaning of behind the colours of beacons will allow you to determine their purpose for your next action and if installing them, will allow you to choose the right colour for your application.

As a general guideline:

Colour: Red

The colour red is usually associated with strong messages such as danger, hazard, and emergency situations. Red is considered a powerful signal that can trigger an automatic message to any viewer. Red coloured beacons are mostly used to warn people to keep away from a dangerous situation/area.

Colour: Amber/Yellow

The colour amber or yellow often triggers a persons thoughts to slow down and be cautious. For this reason, amber colour beacons are used on slow moving vehicles, on construction sites, airports and other in establishments where there may be crowds for increased awareness that caution is needed.

Colour: Green

The colour green indicates safety. It delivers a message that a particular situation is currently being handled and the area is safe. This colour signal offers people assurance that everything is under control.

Colour: Blue

The colour blue is mostly used by emergency vehicles – for this reason blue beacons are not applicable to be used in certain places such as public roads. If you are not certain if a blue beacon is the right colour for your application, it’s best to check with your local authority who will advise further.

Colour: Clear

Clear beacons are often used alongside other coloured beacons and are generally used in offices and schools as an alternative indication. This indication is often left open to the end-users specific requirements.

Beacon Colours Explained

Beacons convey strong and vital messages in the colours they use; they allow people to become more aware of their surroundings and any possible dangers that may be on-coming. These devices deliver messages in their colour and their position, place and time of use.

Knowing the meaning behind the colours of beacons will allow you to determine their purpose for your next action and if installing them, will allow you to choose the right colour you require.

As a general guideline:

Colour: Red.

The colour red is usually associated with strong messages such as danger, hazard and emergency situations. Red is considered as a powerful signal that can trigger an automatic message to any viewer. Red coloured beacons are mostly used to warn people to keep away from a dangerous area/situation.

Colour: Amber/Yellow.

The colour amber or yellow often triggers a person’s thoughts to slow down and to be cautious. For this reason, amber colours beacons are used on slow moving vehicles, on construction sites, airports and in other establishments to increase awareness to crowds.

Colour: Green.

The colour green indicates safety, it delivers a message that a particular situation is currently being handled and the area is safe. This colour signal offers people assurance that everything is under control.

Colour: Blue.

The colour blue is mostly used by emergency vehicles – for this reason blue beacons are not applicable to be used in certain places such as public roads. If you are not certain if a blue beacon is the right colour for your application, it’s best to check with officials in your local government who will advise further.

Colour: Clear.

White beacons are often used alongside other coloured beacons and are generally used in offices and schools as an alternative indication. This indication is generally left open to the end-users specific requirements.

It is worth noting that colour is not the only thing to consider when searching the right beacon to use, the type of lamp, mode and brightness are also important factors that need consideration.

Coding Principles of Beacons & Indicators

Coding Principles of Beacons & Indicators

A visual signal must be designed in such a way that anyone who sees it can recognise it and is able to react immediately to it. Colours should also contrast with other colours – and even shapes in the same area to make them distinguishable, again, so that they can be immediately understood.

Colour Indicator:                                             

Shape Indicator:

The colours Red/Amber/Green are the most standard form of visual signalling and most people can recognise and relate to each colour. The colours Blue and White give additional levels of indication. In general, these colours mean:

ColourSafety MeaningCondition of Process/ State of Equipment
RedDangerEmergency/Fault
AmberWarningAbnormal
GreenSafeNormal
BlueMandatory significance
WhiteNo specific meaning assigned

Importantly, the position of each colour is vital. Red should always be at the top, Amber middle and Green at the bottom. This is because a person may be colour blind and so will not be able to recognise the colour but will know by the position of the light what it signals.

Alternatively colours and shapes may be used to signify the above table, this is again because as above, a person may be colour blind and so not be able to recognise colour only.

Colours and flashing lights are the most effective means of attracting attention, and so need to be applied consistently; colours for priority and flashing for attracting attention. When two levels of attention are required, two flash speeds can be used: normal for the highest priority signal (84-168 flashes per min) and slow for the lowest priority (24-48 flashes per min). Typically, the normal speed should be four times as fast as the slow speed.

Safety and Signals – Colours Explained

 

Beacons allow people to become well-aware of their surroundings. These devices deliver messages depending on their colour, position, and place and time of use. This is the very reason why it is important to know which colour of beacon is relevant for you.

Beacon Colours

Knowing the meaning behind the colour of beacons will allow you to determine their purpose as well as choose the right colour you require. Some beacons might be the same in structure and materials but factors like colour / flash pattern, etc, differentiate them.

Red

Usually, the red colour is associated with strong messages such as dangers, hazards, and even emergency situations. We often see them on firefighters and police cars that are integrated with rotating or flashing lights. This proves that red is considered as a powerful signal that can trigger automatic message to any viewer. In line with this, red coloured beacons are often utilized to warn people to keep themselves away from any dangerous conditions or areas that can bring them danger.

Blue

For law enforcement vehicles, blue is the alternative colour to use. You can find this kind of light on EMT as well as on firefighter vehicles. On the other hand, blue beacons are not applicable to use in certain places. This includes highways as well as streets for the reason that it might confuse people that you are a law enforcer.

Moreover, if you are not certain if blue is the right beacon colour for you, it’s best to check with officials in your local government. They can confirm if you are allowed to use such beacon colour. Otherwise, they’ll give you some insight into alternative options.

Amber or Yellow

Psychologically, colours can trigger thoughts that can affect a person’s action. The yellow or amber colour reminds us to slow down, be aware of our surroundings, and be cautious. For this reason, yellow or amber coloured beacons are particularly utilized to deliver a message to all vehicles in the street to move slowly. They can be seen in airports, construction sites, as well as in other establishments to increase awareness to the crowd.

White

For schools, businesses, and other kinds of public transportations, white beacons are being used. They are also commonly installed by various railroad companies since these illuminating devices can provide clear visibility to other vehicles on the road. More so, these beacons are often utilized alongside other coloured flashing vehicle lights. They are widely seen in the community especially in public places.

Green

Green indicates security and safety. The colour green delivers a message to everyone that a particular emergency is currently being handled. It is a signal that offers people assurance that everything is under control. Most commonly, it is used by response teams and a group of safety representative on their mobile command centers as well as their vehicles.

Other Things to Consider

Colour is not the only thing to consider when searching the right beacon to use. It is important that you take into consideration the type of light being installed. Besides, a steady burning light that is constantly on makes an environment safe. It is important in the aviation industry to be aware of tall structures, etc.

More so, a rotating light is particularly coloured. They turn in order to raise awareness through getting so much attention. Most commonly, this type of lighting is associated with colours that carry strong messages such as red and blue.

Strobe lights utilize a special kind of gas in order to emit quick light bursts that can glow and pulse. This type of light is eye catching and is usually associated with a hazard or evacuation.

Today, LED lighting has become so popular due to its wide-ranging advantages and benefits. This includes convenience, durability, reliability, cost-efficient, and so much more. Not only that, these type of beacon lights are actually visible even from a far distance and you can still see them even in broad daylight.

Conclusion

Beacons bring security, safety, and peace to a community. They convey strong and vital messages using the colours they have. These devices are obviously essential especially that they help in keeping order and safety. More so, it is important that people are aware of what their colour implies.