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An ambulance is NOT a bus...


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#21 spenac

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 03:38 AM

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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#22 CBEMT

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 07:42 AM

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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#23 Ridryder 911

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 09:12 AM

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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#24 spenac

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 12:43 PM

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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#25 firespec35

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 01:28 PM

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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