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10 rules for American flag etiquette on fire apparatus

Flag code requests we follow specific guidelines when displaying the American flag at our stations and on fire apparatus

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The American flag should be displayed every day, but make sure to follow Flag Code guidance when displaying the flag on fire apparatus.

Photo/Congressional Fire Services Institute

If your department plans to display the American flag on your trucks during daily operations, holiday parade participation or other special events, it’s important to refresh your memory on flag etiquette specific to vehicles.

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Here are 10 rules to follow when displaying the American flag on fire apparatus.

  1. According to the Firefighters Association of the State of New York, only one flag is authorized to fly on a fire truck.
  2. The American flag should never be draped over the hood, top, sides, or back of a vehicle.
  3. When the flag is displayed on a vehicle, the staff shall be fixed firmly to the chassis or clamped to the right fender.
  4. Displaying a torn or tattered flag is not permitted.
  5. The flag may only be displayed at night if it’s illuminated by light.
  6. If the flag is flying in a parade with other flags, ensure the flag is positioned to the marchers’ right.
  7. If a flag is displayed on a float in a parade, it must be displayed by a staff.
  8. The flag should not be subject to harsh weather conditions so, unless you have an all-weather flag, it’s improper to display your flag during rain, snow and wind storms.
  9. The flag should not be placed with something attached to it and it should not be touching the ground.
  10. If a flag is hung between two aerial rigs, it should be suspended vertically with the union to the north in an east and west street or to the east in a north and south street.

Keep these points in mind to ensure our nation’s flag, a living symbol, is never disrespected and always displayed properly.

If you plan to display an American flag somewhere besides on your vehicle, here is a comprehensive list of the flag code regulations.

This article, originally published on January 4, 2017, has been updated.

The FireRescue1 Lifestyle content series is written for the off-duty firefighter. Here you’ll find content on everything from the latest automotive and entertainment trends to tips and tricks for financial planning – all written from a firefighter’s perspective, with an eye toward what makes you unique even when you’re not at the station.