What Does the Star of Life Mean?

The Star of Life is a blue, six-pointed star, internationally known as a symbol that represents Emergency Medical Services (EMS).

The six branches of the star are symbols of the six main tasks executed by rescuers through the emergency chain:

1) Detection: The first observers on the scene are usually untrained civilians or those involved in the incident.

2) Reporting: The first observers call for professional help and provide details to enable a response.

3) Response: The first professional rescuers are dispatched and arrive on scene as quickly as possible.

4) On-scene care: The emergency medical services personnel provide immediate care to the extent of their capabilities on-scene.

5) Care in transit: The emergency medical services personnel transfer the patient to a hospital via an ambulance or helicopter for specialized care. They provide medical care during the transportation.

6) Transfer to definitive care: Appropriate specialized care is provided at the hospital.

The serpent and staff in the symbol portray the staff of Asclepius, an ancient Greek physician deified as the god of medicine. Overall, the staff represents medicine and healing, with the skin-shedding serpent being indicative of renewal.

What is the EMS Star of Life? (87 sec)
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