Thursday, May 20, 2010

"Can You See Us Now?"

As I mentioned earlier this week, the company I work for is celebrating Emergency Medical Services Week which is always the full third week in May.  In a little less than a month, I'll have been with American Ambulance for seven years and I have to say that since I've been there, the company has always gone all-out to let their employees know that they're appreciated during this week set aside to honor the men and women who are First Responders.

I don't ever remember there being anything special during National Law Enforcement Week back when I was dispatching for the Cop Shop so for those who think that this is something that every company you work for does then think again as I know for a fact that they don't.  In all my years of police dispatching I never got a custom-made (by my supervisor no less!) omelet, I never had the chance to win great prizes in a raffle, no one ever bought us pizza for dinner, and I sure as heck never got a gift every year.  Those are just some of the things that AASI does for its employees each year during EMS Week and it really is nice as they could just as easily blow off the week like so many other places do but they don't - they make their employees feel special and appreciated and like we matter.  Not to say that American only does that once a year, mind you, but during EMS Week they put the spotlight on the heart and soul of the company - its employees.

This year for our EMS Week gift we were all given a very nice long-sleeved t-shirt emblazoned with the following on the back:

2010 EMS Week t-shirt

You may very well say "HUH?" but there's a very good reason behind their madness as the shirts are directly related to the four latest editions to our ambulance fleet:

New Ambulance Design

The design on our new Sprinter ambulances is known as Half-Battenburg Livery and if it looks like something you'd be more likely to see in the United Kingdom than the United States then you are bloody well right! The markings were designed by the UK's Police Scientific Development Branch (PDSB) in the mid-1990's to maximize the conspicuousness of police vehicles in both daylight and nighttime use. The goal was "to create a design which would maximize the visibility of the vehicles when stopped on scene both in daylight and under headlights from a minimum distance of 500 meters and which would also distinctively mark the vehicle as a police car."

During their research, the PDSB found that the human eye is most sensitive to blue/green shades at night and yellow/green in daylight. For this reason the Battenburg design typically consists of two or more rows of alternating retro-reflective squares or blocks usually starting with yellow at the top then the alternating color along the sides of the vehicle.

In Norwich, England the blue/yellow combination is used to identify the police but here in Norwich, Connecticut the blue/yellow combination is going to identify an ambulance - specifically an AASI ambulance and if you're one of the many people who never quite seemed to recognize that an emergency medical vehicle was right next to you or right behind you, you are most definitely going to know that now!  Not only do our new ambulances have bright fluorescent squares on the sides but they've got a very impressive array of lights and sirens that will most definitely get your attention!   Kind of makes me wish I had a video to show you just so you'd get the idea!

There are a lot of people out there - including some in our own company - who don't like the design but I'll be honest with you - I think it's great.  Now that could just be the Brit in me on my mother's side or all those years of watching Monty Python but I think it's brilliant!  That design - whether your eyes like it or not - is going to keep my road crews a lot safer than they are now and that's worth every single grimace the Half-Battenburg Livery design may induce.   Right now there are only four of the new ambulances but eventually the entirety of the fleet is going to be sporting that new look and that's going to make my job just a tiny bit less stressful as I'll know that yes, they can see us now and there will be a lot fewer accidents because of that.

Now, if you'll excuse me I need to go back to practicing how to dispatch my new cars in a horrible fake British accent whilst sipping tea and nibbling biscuits!


  1. Pretty neat! I think its great when employers take the time to recognize they are nothing without their great employees. My boss always does something nice for us on Administrative Professionals day. The last two years its been beautiful houseplants with a thank you card!

  2. hmm, well, for nurses week I got an umbrella....and a cookie.

  3. I've seen some of the idiots when I hear an emergency vehicle approaching. Some of them have their radio rap crap so loud with the bass maxed out that they couldn't possibly hear anything else, and they seem to not see anything either.

    I only have one employee, but I think I'll have to do something special for her today! Hmmm... maybe CAKE!

  4. i'd totally move over if i saw that coming. good job!

    smiles, bee

  5. I think this is a great idea.

  6. My last job was the only one that I've ever had a recognition week for, but of course nothing really came out of it as the company is terribly unorganized and too spread out.

  7. Anonymous9:45 AM EDT

    It sounds like you work for a company that recognizes it's best asset -- employees. I love the new ambulance design. And thanks for giving us the background on it.

    Hopefully this will make it more visible -- when it's rolling with lights and sirens, people can get out of the way... and minimize accidents.

  8. Police dispatchers seem to be treated the same the world over. Not very good. I'm glad you work for such and employee friendly group.

    I can't say I love the design, but if it gets the job done then way to go. That's what it's all about.

    Have a terrific day. Big hug. :)

  9. Safety first! This looks cool. I always put on my blinker and pull over quickly when I see an emergency vehicle...and utter a little prayer for everyone's safety.

    Big hugs...

  10. I remember the first time I saw a yellow fire engine. At first I thought it was engines are supposed to be red, right?

    But then I realized that the yellow one is a lot easier to see. And if you don't hear it, you can definitely see it coming!

    Happy EMS week! I appreciate the hard work and dedication you and your colleagues bring to the table.

  11. It's great when your employer shows their appreciation. :)

  12. I thought the design looked familiar! A British design. Will you be wearing a top hat and carrying a brolly?

  13. Those are sweet.

    Here's an EMS week video I saw on YouTube, too.


  14. So British and makes so much sense to me! I can sure see you now :)
    Happy EMS workers' week, Linda!

  15. That's really awesome-what a great idea and it looks pretty snazzy too.

    Is that you in the picture?


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