Removal of "EMS SQUAD" Lettering Requirement

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Per 47 Pa.B. 3437, posted on Saturday, June 17, 2017, the Pennsylvania Dept. of Health required all emergency medical services non-transport vehicles (squads) to meet the following requirements: 

The word ''EMS SQUAD'' shall be mirror imaged in letters not less than 4" high, centered above the grill. The placement of the word ''EMS SQUAD'' shall be on the rear of the vehicle and the curved surface of the hood or can be placed on a flat bug screen

This seemingly inconsequential addition to the "Vehicle, Equipment and Supply Requirements for Emergency Medical Agencies" mandated a state wide change in the appearance of EMS vehicles. Subsequently, this small addition to the requirements created to following impact on already financially strained EMS agencies:

Generalized confusion

  • Member of the public are not typically familiar with EMS nomenclature. Many citizens are unsure of what "EMS Squad" means, as a the definition of a "squad" ranges greatly.
  • During a time where public education of what services EMS professionals provide, this confusing title only serves to further dilute the public's understanding of what level provider is assigned to the vehicles.
  • Although an Advanced Life Support Unit may already say "PARAMEDIC" in large font it does not meet the requirements of the section. 

 Lack of Consistency

  • Advanced Life Support, Intermediate Advanced Life Support, and Basic Life Support units all require the marking. 
  • This further dilutes the public’s perception of what the vehicle itself does, or what type of provider it actually carries. 
  • The two largest cities in the Commonwealth, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, have recently placed in service ALS Squads that do not bare the “EMS SQUAD” lettering requirement. These units have been licensed without issue while smaller services throughout the state, whom are often economically distressed, are forced to pay for relettering of their vehicles. 
  • Administrative, EMS Physician Vehicles, and support vehicles do not require any lettering whatsoever. 
  • The change was NOT decided by committee or open forum, rather decided on a seeming whim as a reaction to a localized incident*.

 If you agree with the above stated information, please sign and share this petition.

Our intention is to submit it to the Bureau of EMS to hopefully create a dialogue where more reasonable accommodations for unit identification can be made. 

If the Bureau of EMS fails to respond, we will submit our claim to our local state representatives. 

 *This comment, regarding an isolated incident, has not been confirmed via primary sources. Instead it has been reported via multiple tertiary sources. If you have primary information regarding the matter please contact me! I hope to keep all content as relevant and accurate as possible.

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