Scene Lighting Comparison: Light Towers vs Fixed Mounted Lights

With powerful new LEDs on the market, it is tempting to think putting lights on each corner of the truck will save the cost of a tower. However, ½ the light output will always be on the side away from the scene…which is not a great investment for your department since LEDs are so expensive. Also, light gathers. This is why sporting stadiums have clusters of lights. You can get this same effect by mounting 4 or 6 LEDs on a single tower, giving you the ability to use all the LEDs on whatever side of the truck you need. The photos below compare the effectiveness of truck mounted perimeter LEDs to a Command Light tower. You can see how much more powerful the usable light is when all the LEDs are elevated, the light can gather, and can be directed to reach the scene at the best angle.

Command Light, Light Studies, LED Light Tower, Fire Truck Lights

Why Elevated Light Towers are Important

Watch this great video put together by Sam Massa from Hiviz LED explaining how elevating your lighting helps reduce glare while on the scene.

As any fireman knows, safety is an essential priority to the safety of the emergency personnel and victims at a scene.  Command Light products are the solution to those problems. They provide lighting at the scene where and when you need it. They also give you a quick, fast, and bright lighting solution that has surgical precision.  When you work the fire ground there are bound to be obstacles on the ground and in the air that you may not be aware of.  Those hazards can include hose lines, electrical lines, manholes, etc.  As this chart shows, as firemen and people get older they need more light to see.



Relative Luminance













Source: Philips Lighting, P12-11A, 1989

Now the next question to answer is: What kind of light tower should I buy?  You have two options, you can either buy a Command Light or, you can buy other brands.  Command Lights are far superior to other towers in every respect.   The Command Light gets to full extension in 15 seconds, whereas as a other towers are at full extension in 60 seconds. 

Check out a recent light plot study comparing different types of light towers.
Additionally a Command Light products can operate in all weather conditions, be they ice, dust, wind, rain, etc.; whereas other towers will not operate in all weather conditions, and they utilize sliding air seals, which will succumb to water, ice, dust, rain, etc. causing the tower to “freeze up.”  

Command Light products can also operate in the street light position, to assist in command and rehabilitation operations.  Other towers can operate in only the top pole position.  The controller on Command Light products also has a one-touch Auto-park feature, meaning all you do to park the light is push the button once; you don’t need to hold it down.  If you purchase another tower the Auto-park feature that is included you have to hold down until the mast is completely nested.  

Also, Command Light products are all electric, meaning that there is virtually no maintenance, and they don’t use air seals.  Other light towers are both low-pressure air and electronically operated.  The mast part of the tower utilizes several air seals that can clog with dirt and dust, and must be cleaned regularly.  Lastly, the Command Light is rated to operate in wind conditions up to 90 mph.

As you can see the Command Light is the most efficient, user friendly, effective light tower on the market today.  So when you go to purchase your next light tower think Command Light.

Also, watch this great video put together by Sam Massa from Hiviz LED explaining how elevating your lighting helps reduce glare while on the scene.