what emergency equipment must be in your truck? Do you know what, exactly, are the pieces of emergency equipment?   -  Photo: Canva

what emergency equipment must be in your truck? Do you know what, exactly, are the pieces of emergency equipment? 

Photo: Canva

Regulations issued by FMCSA are published in the Federal Register and compiled in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). What regulation covers emergency equipment that must be carrier in your truck? As part of those regulations, section 393.95 requires every bus, truck, and truck tractor to have specific emergency equipment.

Failing to provide this equipment puts the vehicle, driver, and public at risk, and the carrier can be cited and fined during a roadside inspection. So, what emergency equipment must be in your truck? Do you know what, exactly, are the necessary pieces of emergency equipment? 

What Work Truck Fleets Need to Know About Emergency Equipment

The following frequently asked questions summarize the emergency equipment requirements:

1. Are non-CDL CMVs subject to the emergency equipment rule?

Yes. The rule applies to the general definition of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) in §390.5, which represents several vehicle types, including those that do not require a commercial driver’s license.

2. What type of fire extinguisher do we need in our CMV?

The regulations require that you use either a single extinguisher with an Underwriter’s Laboratories rating of 5 B:C, or two extinguishers rated at 4 B:C or more. In the case of vehicles used in the transportation of placarded hazardous materials, the extinguisher rating must be 10 B:C or more. Exceptions exist for driveaway-towaway operations.

3. How often are CMV fire extinguishers inspected?

The driver must inspect fire extinguishers and other emergency equipment daily (§392.7, §392.8). The driver must be satisfied that the equipment is in good working order.

A fire extinguisher must have a visual indicator to determine if it is fully charged. Drivers must also check to ensure it is securely mounted in a location that is readily accessible.

4. What are acceptable warning devices?

Though reflective triangles are most common, the regulations allow the use of three types of warning devices for stopped vehicles:

  • 3 bidirectional emergency reflective triangles;
  • 6 road flares, each capable of burning for 30 minutes; or
  • 3 liquid-burning flares, each capable of burning for 60 minutes.

Flame-producing devices are prohibited on vehicles carrying explosives, a flammable gas, a flammable liquid, or any vehicle using compressed gas as a motor fuel. Be sure you know how long you have to deploy your warning devices if you are stopped on a road or shoulder (within 10 minutes of stopping). 

5. How are warning devices positioned?

The driver must set out emergency warning devices within ten minutes if the CMV is stopped on the traveled portion or the shoulder of a highway for any cause other than necessary traffic stops.

Placement of the warning devices varies according to the location:


6. Are spare fuses required?

Spare fuses must be kept in any power unit that relies on fuses to operate any required equipment. There must be at least one spare fuse of each type/size needed to power accessories, such as lights and wipers.

7. Do the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations require first-aid kits?

Although state requirements may vary, no federal regulations require first-aid kits in commercial motor vehicles.

Other considerations

As a best practice, many carriers have their vehicles carry additional emergency items, such as spare light bulbs, windshield washer fluid, coolant, and engine oil.

About the Author: Kathy Close is a transportation editor at J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc. Her areas of expertise include transportation security, DOT drug and alcohol testing, and driver qualification. For more information e-mail transporteditors@jjkeller.com.