The Star of
The Star of Life (SOL) was designed
by a Mr. Leo R. Schwartz, EMS Branch Chief at the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration ( NHTSA ) United States of America. The star of life was created in 1973 as
a common symbol to be used by US emergency medical services ( EMS) and medical goods
pertaining to EMS.
It was after complaints from the American
National Red Cross objecting to the use of the Omaha orange cross by
ambulance services throughout America which clearly imitated the red cross symbol. The NHTSA investigated and felt that
the complaint was justified.
However the use of the red cross symbol can
still be seen on military vehicles, hospital tents and buildings to protect wounded
civilian and military personnel as per the Geneva Convention in times of war.
The six barred blue symbol was adapted from
the medical identification symbol and was registered on February 1,1977 with the
commission of patents and trade marks in the name of the NHTSA. The trade mark expired in
1997. Each bar on the Star of Life represents one of six functions.
They are as follows:
- On Scene Care,
- Care in Transit,
- Transfer to Definitive
The snake and staff in the symbol portray
the staff of Aesculapius, son of Apollo, the staff represents medicine and healing. The
Star of Life symbol can be seen as a means of identification on ambulances and ambulance
equipment world wide. Its use on EMS patches in the US and other countries signifies the
wearer has been trained to meet National or State Training Standards as laid down from
time to time.