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An ambulance is NOT a bus...

71 posts in this topic

Posted · Report post

Great article from JEMS. I know we have discussed this before, however the story makes a great correlation between what we call our ride and the level of professionalism it displays to the general public.

I know medicccjh will never change as the people in his neck of the woods seem hell bent on calling the ambulance a bus, but if we can change other's habits...who knows.

http://www.jems.com/news_and_articles/colu..._Not_a_Bus.html

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Posted · Report post

First off it's not a bus it's a taxi. Why because it is designed for most of the time having only one fare.

Alright on the serious note. I agree we need to start calling them ambulances. It is obvious the author is fire as he is fine calling them "rescue". Rescue is not an ambulance as very seldom does an ambulance crew actually rescue anyone, we leave that to the hero FF. We are not "public safety", that is the FF's job. We are and should be emergency medical professionals.

Really even ambulance is not the best term to convey what we are and do. Especially in areas that have more aggressive protocols, including the treat and release, should rename the ambulance Mobile Emergency Medical Center.

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Posted · Report post

Just took a CERT( Community Emergency Response Team) class for a volly department back home and they were talking about ambulances and what this CERT needs to call them. They mentioned calling them bus' as that is what the EMS professionals call them.

I balked at this and was a little astonished that they would use this. I hate it when people call it a bus. I know this is gonna make people laugh at firemonkeys, but, in wildland firefighting, if you ask for a tanker in Maine you get a truck holding about 2 to 3 thousand gallons of water, if you ask for a tanker out west, you'll get an airplane...

We need to have a specific name that we call everything to minimize any confusion. Asking for a bus on an MCI would get me a big yellow one not an ambulance.

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Posted · Report post

I know I'm old but when I call for assistance I say bus. I guess thats what I always called them since i became a medic. To me its second nature and in my area it pretty common.

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Posted · Report post

I know I'm old but when I call for assistance I say bus. I guess thats what I always called them since i became a medic. To me its second nature and in my area it pretty common.

Guess you are in a great spot to begin the change to a more professional term. We look forward to hearing you have helped establish a professional medical image in your area.

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Posted · Report post

as the people in his neck of the woods seem hell bent on calling the ambulance a bus

Fire chief in this area was reprimanded by the Communications Director for calling his ambulance a "gut box" on the air. Never calls it an ambulance, only says "wagon", not it's designator.

I'm up for the occasional goof off, but constant ignorance and unprofessionalism on the air makes his whole organization look bad, more so in the eyes of the providers. Even though I wouldn't doubt it if 1 in 3 members of the general public had scanners and listen to every word we say on the air. I either say Ambulance X, or just their numbers; no reason to goof around when we're out in public, on any sort of emergency or NonE mission.

I get hounded for it a lot, but I expect nothing but high standards of care and a professional attitude when on any kind of call. Fooling around by the officers, makes the team look amateur and incompetent.

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Posted · Report post

It's an ambulance, not a clown car. It is not a bus, rescue, truck, or rig. It does not transport a lot of people, extricate people in 99% of the country, pull light loads, or pull big loads. I understand the use of "medic" since it's an important distinction between a paramedic unit and a lower unit. I do have a problem with MICU designation since it can mean multiple things (googling it brings about pages calling a MICU any sort of ambulance regardless of level, medic fly car unit, specialty care transports (neonate/peds), and medic units) and most people are not going to know what MICU stands for. Similarly, the "unit" designation is OK since it is a common radio identifier. I wouldn't use the term "unit" though if requesting another ambulance or talking to the public.

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Posted · Report post

Call it what it really is, a Meat Wagon. Or a glorified Herse..... :munky2:

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No.. That's even more unprofessional than "Bus". [spoil:d19e410e29]Hearse.. BTW. [/spoil:d19e410e29]

Off topic..... Kind of.

A town elder related a story. In the 1930's, the funeral home in town had two Hearses; black and white.

They felt it was bad Karma to pick someone up in the black Hearse. So, they bought a second Hearse, white in color, and called it an Ambulance.

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Well I see what is keeping EMS down more than anything has shown itself in this discussion. The it has always been this way so I will continue to do it this way attitude. It just makes me sick. Does no one want to see our job actually advance to where it is a true medical profession? Are we content with the same old crap even if it does no good for us?

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I know I'm old but when I call for assistance I say bus. I guess thats what I always called them since i became a medic. To me its second nature and in my area it pretty common.

I hope this is a joke? :?

Dude, you're 23. Have you been a medic long enough to have even re-certified yet? If your "second nature" is beyond change after a grand total of four years in the profession, you're destined to a career of mediocrity.

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I grew up with my dad calling his ambulance a rig so that's what I called it. I just started volunteering at my local rescue squad, and they call it a truck so that's what I'm learning to say.

But I can see the point. It doesn't sound as professional.

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I grew up with my dad calling his ambulance a rig so that's what I called it. I just started volunteering at my local rescue squad, and they call it a truck so that's what I'm learning to say.

But I can see the point. It doesn't sound as professional.

So you have a great opportunity to at least help your volly service sound more professional. All it takes is one person to get the ball rolling.

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That's a good point. One person here, and another there, and things could change.

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That's a good point. One person here, and another there, and things could change.

An example of how one person can cause change. Years ago bought a house in an older kind of run down area. I cleaned mine up. Then the people on each side cleaned theirs up. Before a year we had a very desirable area with much better resale value.

Same can happen at our EMS station. Kindly apply a little pressure but more importantly set the right example.

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Eh, we call them rigs among yourselves. Always ambulance when talking to the public. I honestly think that when we're talking to each other the public just filters out a lot of terms like PSI, rig, PMS, c-spine. I mean good thing to consider that I hadn't thought about before but don't think it'd change public's perception even .5%...but I guess .5% is better than nothing. I'd concentrate on problems like competency, behavior on-scene, etc first...

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The article by Mr. Becker says

A bus picks up a group of people and takes them to a location by following a pre-designated route. The vehicle configuration, the level of service and the fact you can only sit -- not lay down -- doesn't compare to an ambulance.

However, in the verbal history of the first organized ambulance service, from over 100 years ago, out of Manhattan's Bellevue Hospital, New York, that is exactly what the first ambulances did. If the non-medically trained crew, or the intern that sometimes rode along, felt a patient was of an emergent nature, they'd leave the route and proceed directly to the ED.

I was told, by a colleague (again, from before the EMS/FDNY merger), that his ambulance was called directly over an NYPD radio, to "get the 'bus' to" where someone had been shot. My friend, who is, if you can believe it, a bigger joke-maker than myself, responded back, "I'm going to be delayed en route, because I have to stop at the transit depot to pick up a bus: I'm drivin' a ambulance!"

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However, in the verbal history of the first organized ambulance service, from over 100 years ago, out of Manhattan's Bellevue Hospital, New York, that is exactly what the first ambulances did. If the non-medically trained crew, or the intern that sometimes rode along, felt a patient was of an emergent nature, they'd leave the route and proceed directly to the ED.

That's an interesting and relevant piece of history! Thanks!

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The article by Mr. Becker says

However, in the verbal history of the first organized ambulance service, from over 100 years ago, out of Manhattan's Bellevue Hospital, New York, that is exactly what the first ambulances did. If the non-medically trained crew, or the intern that sometimes rode along, felt a patient was of an emergent nature, they'd leave the route and proceed directly to the ED.

I was told, by a colleague (again, from before the EMS/FDNY merger), that his ambulance was called directly over an NYPD radio, to "get the 'bus' to" where someone had been shot. My friend, who is, if you can believe it, a bigger joke-maker than myself, responded back, "I'm going to be delayed en route, because I have to stop at the transit depot to pick up a bus: I'm drivin' a ambulance!"

Rich, you beat me to it!!

That is why I will always call it a bus. Since 1994 when I started in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.

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Yeah, I can't say I will ever be fond of the term, or the implications it has on our profession, but I have to admit that this story certainly gives me a whole new way of looking at it. I always thought it was more of a self-depreciating term used by New Yorkers, that I really didn't like. But now, with the historical perspective on it, that's actually pretty cool. Unfortunately, all the newbies never hear that story and don't know the history, which leaves a derogatory feel to the term. That's too bad.

As for the rest of the country, where we don't share that history, I don't think it's appropriate, and most of the people in EMS that use it do so only to imitate what they saw on "Turd Watch".

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Yeah, I can't say I will ever be fond of the term, or the implications it has on our profession, but I have to admit that this story certainly gives me a whole new way of looking at it. I always thought it was more of a self-depreciating term used by New Yorkers, that I really didn't like. But now, with the historical perspective on it, that's actually pretty cool. Unfortunately, all the newbies never hear that story and don't know the history, which leaves a derogatory feel to the term. That's too bad.

As for the rest of the country, where we don't share that history, I don't think it's appropriate, and most of the people in EMS that use it do so only to imitate what they saw on "Turd Watch".

99% or more of the public has no idea of the history. They hear us call it a bus and will conclude that we are not medical professionals but just bus drivers. They will just see us as transportation and nothing more. History is neat but we need to quit living in the past and do what is best for our profession.

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Around here, you refer to your "ambulance," and people assume you're talking about a unit belonging to a private transfer company- automatically you are seen as inferior. People here know that when they call 911, the fire department shows up. An ambulance is what took their grandmother to the nursing home after her hip replacement.

911 units have been called "Rescues" since fire-based EMS began here in the 1950's. The term is not going anywhere, since neither are the fire departments- who represent 95% of the EMS in my state. The remaining agencies who are not fire based almost all call their units Rescues as well, likely for no other reason than to ensure that they are recognized as NOT being "just an ambulance."

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Although being in EMS for over thirty years, until I became active in the forums, I did not hear the term "bus" so much. I only heard such terms when attending conventions, etc in the Eastern Coast area. Saying the slang " bus" in my area would be considered a derogatory term.

I had a EMT interview two days ago and mentioned upon how "anxiously he was going to ride on the "bus". Not recognizing the term as used so frequently, administration was not pleased using such a description. In fact comment made after interview that maybe a "bus" was what they needed to work upon. I discussed the term was common in some areas, although it did not leave a good impression . It was not the final factor on determining employment, but I thought was interesting on perception of what one calls a vehicle.

In my area, most ambulances are called units. I use this term because of local history as well. Many years ago this was to break the stigma of ambulances. Since most ambulances at the time were associated with funeral homes. As well, early Paramedic care was purposely associated with MICU to educate the public that medical care was being provided similar to hospital care as in the Intensive Care Unit. The transporting vehicle was just one part of the tools used and the vehicle was de-emphasized.

Personally, I would like to remove the word "ambulance" altogether on some units. There are some days I perform a lot more than just transporting, against those in comparison to those that just do that. It is a term used to loosely and grouping individuals for non-emergency transports to those of specialty care teams. If those in the health care cannot differentiate, then one could only assume that the public has the same misunderstanding, hence our image and recognition as health care providers is lowered.

R/r 911

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Posted · Report post

Rid excellent point. Transfer vans should be called transfer or something else not ambulance. That or we should get together on a title for all 911 ambulances to use that actually conveys the fact that we are providing medical care not just transportation.

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Rid excellent point. Transfer vans should be called transfer or something else not ambulance. That or we should get together on a title for all 911 ambulances to use that actually conveys the fact that we are providing medical care not just transportation.

We say "rig" if we are talking amongst ourselves, but if talking to a member of the public it is always "ambulance" or to other medical staff it is either "ambulance" or "ALS/ BLS unit" As for the above quote, I disagree. I only have knowledge limited to my area so I don't know how it works elsewhere but in my area all the pvt companies have a 911 contract or a hospital transfer contract so the possibility of them providing actual medical care is real. The 911 providers (all but one) use semi dedicated cars with the others as backup so you could be taking granny home one call and the next one going on a 911 for some city. Why would you want to limit your fleet and/ or have to duplicate your resources.

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