Send the red one please, not the purple.

My friend, Mr. Fatball, works as an EMT and this got me thinking about ambulances.

Growing up in the East Bay, most of the ambulances until recently were the red and white American Medical Response (AMR) vans. I grew up trusting this group, not only because they were the major ambulance service in the area, but because they were red and white.

Fire trucks are red and white. Fire and emergency warnings are red and white. Even exit signs in America tend to be red and white! (See a previous post on why I think they should be green.) My entire life, I’ve been conditioned to trust red and white to lead the way, away from danger to safety.

Lately, however, there have been fewer red and white AMR ambulances and more green and yellow Paramedic Plus vans.

I don’t doubt the skills of these EMTs. (Afterall, Mr. Fatball is an EMT and I would trust him with my life. Maybe.) I am quite sure they are extremely qualified to take care of my in emergency situations as any other EMT from any other company, but not seeing the typical red and white irks me a bit. Green and yellow vans make me feel unsatisfied, as though better service would be provided if the same EMTs came in red and white vans instead. Perhaps the green and yellow cheapen the experience. Or perhaps I have been conditioned to prefer the red and white.

It does seem rather arbitrary, but I guess it’s something to get used to over time. Mr. Fatball explained that ambulances tend to work on contracts. (Did you know this?!) Service was contracted to Paramedics Plus for Alameda County recently, which means most emergency and transfer calls will be picked up by Paramedics Plus ambulances. I guess it’s just something to get used to for now. Who knows, AMR might come back in a couple of years and my anxiety of being picked up by a green and yellow ambulance van will go away.

Green/yellow or red/white. Which ever one picks me up now, I think I don’t mind, as long as it’s not purple. Sorry, Royal, but seeing a purple ambulance drive down the  freeway is just… abnormal.

Green and yellow was already hard to accept. Don’t expect me to accept a purple Royal ambulance van to pick me up in an emergency. You will surely here me say, “Send the red one please, not the purple.”

Like I said earlier, I don’t doubt the skills and qualifications of these EMTs. I do, however, doubt the legitimacy of these ambulances when I come across one on the streets or freeway. I’m from Oakland. We’re all a little skeptical of unusual things like purple ambulance vans…

EMTs are super cool people! I hope I don’t have to meet any soon.


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