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:
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:
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!