Talk:Star of Life

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Have wondered, if an ambulance does not display the symbol, is it due to some standard not being met? Or is the symbol optional, according to agency-commander or company-owner preference? j/w - knoodelhed 18:04, 9 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I imagine it might depend on the circumstances... for instance, non-professionals rescuers (like the Malteseren in Germany) have their own signs; or some countries might use the Red cross, the Red crescent, or something in this idea... In any case, the symbol is not regulated, you don't have to display it, nor are you forbidden to display it if you so whish (though one who would display it would certainly be expected to have some training in field emergency). I don't know whether this answers the question ? If not, ask again ! :) Cheers ! Rama 05:55, 10 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Orange star?[edit]

The first paragraph claims "A similar orange star is used for search and rescue personnel." I don't find this claim attested in any of the external citations. It should be either supported or deleted. 15:12, 12 November 2006 (UTC)

Legal Issues using the Star of Life[edit]

Since I can't figure out how to respond to the earlier comment, I'll address the issue in a new one. The use of the "Star of Life" is restricted by the NHTSA based on its use as a "certification symbol."

According to the article found here, the use of the Star of Life is restricted, in that "... [Its] use on emergency medical vehicles certifies that such vehicles meet the U.S. Department of Transportation standards and certify that the emergency medical care personnel who use it have been trained to meet these standards." However, the article does not site a specific source/website/government document with that information. I know that as an EMT and part of a volunteer EMS organization, ride-along (usually EMT students) observers that wear jumpsuits are required to cover up the Star of Life on the shoulder of the jumpsuit, as it indicates a level of training they have not yet received. As well, for our organization, policy dictates that any person wearing a Star of Life must act, upon request, to aid in any emergency situation to the extent of their training/protocols as an EMT.

I was unable to find any page specific to the rules and regulations of the Star of Life on the DoT website; however, there is a manual that can be ordered that appears to address such regulations. Due to my lack of enthusiasm for the expenditure, I'll go based on secondhand information. I did find this document on the DoT website which mentions the requirements for an emergency vehicle to carry the Star of Life. The document itself is a manual published for the Emergency Vehicle Operator Course.

This information probably should be included in the article. As I'm new to Wikipedia, I'll leave that up to someone more experienced if they'd like to volunteer. If it doesn't go up in a couple of weeks, I'll do the requisite research and writing myself.

As a sidenote, I'd like to take issue with Wikipedia's using the Star of Life symbol to represent all medical articles (or at least, it's the symbol that comes up next to the "stub" indicator for medical articles). The Star of Life is a prominent symbol in emergency medicine only; it is not considered a representative symbol of medicine in general. I don't know where to post a comment about this, so I'll just throw it out here in hopes that someone with more Wikipedia expertise than I will address it.

Jcsimpson 19:21, 28 November 2006 (UTC)Cres

Star of Life is usually called Cross of Constantine in Serbia. It is beleived that the origins of that signs are in the shape of the Labarum of Constantine the Great.

Scope2776 10:10, 29 December 2006 (UTC) While an ambulance agency can certainly meet all the national requirements and not display the Star of Life, the logo is a historical symbol of EMS care and workers. Furthermore the symbol since 1997, when the patent expired and was gifted to a non-governmental agency, there is no enforcement on its use. When it was used the NHTSA had very strict guidelines for its use because it was at that time, in the late 1970's, a seal of approval by the government on the standard of pre-hospital care. To-date it is still used because of its public awareness and historical meanings. The logo has in fact grown-up with the emergency medical system since its birth.

User:WoutR 21 december 2009

The NHTSA EMS "Star of Life" Manual can be found here:

DOT HS 808 721 Rev. June 1995 (I don't know about the legal issues or the international limits of use)

International Scope[edit]

This article seems very American-centric, with one brief mention of the Star of Life being used internationally. Perhaps it should be edited for a broader scope. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:39, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

The link to this page said a global symbol. In New Zealand it is not a registered nurse and have not seen it. I also have search and rescue experience and it is not used in that setting either. Seems American. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:52, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
The Star of Life is used on ambulances in Sweden instead of the red cross.--Christoffre (talk) 13:28, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

Claim of Expiration[edit]

The article claims that the trademark (or patent, depending on version) has expired, but examination of trademark registration number 1058022 shows it to still be valid, and renewed in 2007. I can find no basis for the claim of expiration--not even in the citation given or either version in the Wayback archive immediately prior to and following the cited date.Peter K. Sheerin, K6WEB (talk) 04:55, 12 October 2008 (UTC)

If you have the information, then it would be great for the article to update with correct and cited information. Are you able to give a citation for the updated information? OwainDavies (about)(talk) edited at 14:23, 17 October 2008 (UTC)

Addition to ambulances[edit]

In the article, it states that the Star of Life was created in 1973 & trademarked in 1977. Which year did they begin adding the Star of Life to ambulances? 1973? 1977? Some year in between? (talk) 23:18, 7 June 2009 (UTC)

The snake emblem:[edit]

The article states: "The snake emblem is a symbol from the biblical account of the bronze snake found in Numbers 21:4-9. This is incorrect, the snake emblem is the Rod of Asclepius (also called the Staff of Ascelpius / Aesculapius). It is correct ,the greeks got it from biblical acct.

However, the article later mentions the Rod of Asclepius: "The snake emblem also reflects the Rod of Asclepius, widely used as the symbol of medical care worldwide."

But placing this later in the text is misleading.

The symbol is the Rod of Asclepius, used to represent many medical organisations and this was why Leo R. Schwartz used it in the Star of Life. This is the main topic of this section, and should at least be placed at the top. Reference to the biblical story is mentioned only as an additional reference in the trademark text[1]. The origin of the Rod of Asclepius and it's link to the Nehushtan is discussed on it's own Wikipedia page.

This error seems to have been corrected at least twice before, but keeps reverting back to this format. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jasonoz007 (talkcontribs) 16:59, 31 May 2018 (UTC)


  1. ^ [1]Google books: "Star of Life", emergency medical care symbol (trademark registration number 1058022)