Where did the Star of Life symbol on ambulances come from?
Originally, over 40 years ago, many ambulances were recognized by an orange cross on a square background of reflectorized white. The star, as we know it today, was born after a 1973 complaint by the American National Red Cross that the orange cross on a white background too closely resembled their logo - the red cross on a white background.

The Star of Life was designed and created by Leo R. Schwartz, Chief of EMS Branch, National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The blue star outlined in white features the rod of Asclepius in the center. Asclepius is an ancient Greek symbol of healing. The star's 6 points represent the 6 phases of an EMS response.
  1. Early detection
  2. Early reporting
  3. Early response
  4. On-scene care
  5. Care in transit
  6. Transfer to definitive care

The symbol was trademarked on February 1, 1977 with the Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks in the name of the NHTSA. After the trademark expired in 1997, the Star of Life was given to the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) for use as the Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) logo.

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1. What does EMS stand for?
2. Where did the Star of Life symbol on ambulances come from?
3. What should the public know about Paramedics?
4. What do I do while driving when an emergency vehicle approaches with lights and sirens on?
5. What’s the difference between a paramedic and an ambulance driver?
6. Why do I see the paramedics in the grocery store when they’re on duty?
7. Why does more than just an ambulance come when I call 911?
8. Sometimes the ambulance drives with lights and sirens, and sometimes they don't. What's the difference?
9. Why don’t the paramedics run to treat patients?
10. Do I get to choose which hospital you take me to?
11. If I or someone I care for has special medical needs, how do I let the Paramedics know?
12. If I go to the hospital in the ambulance, will I be seen by a doctor sooner?
13. How do I become a paramedic?