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The Blue "Star of Life" 


Just as a pharmacists have the motar and pestle and doctors have the caduceus, Emergency Medical Techinicians have a symbol, its use is encourged both by the American Medical Association and the Advisory Council within the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. The symbol applies to all emergency medical goods and services which are funded under the DOT/EMS program.


Each of the six "points" of the star represents an aspect of the EMS System.

  1. Detection 

  2. Reporting 

  3. Response 

  4. On Scene Care 

  5. Care In Transit 

  6. Transfer to Definitive Care


The staff on the star represent medicine and healing. The snake and staff in the center of the symbol portray the staff Asclepius who, according to Greek mythology, was the son of Apollo (god of light, truth and prophecy). Supposedly Asclepius learned the art of healing from the centaur Cheron; but Zeus - king of the gods, was fearful that because of the Asclepius knowledge, all men might be rendered immortal. Rather than have this occur, Zeus slew Asclepius with a thunderbolt. Later, Asclepius was worshipped as a god and people slept in his temples, as it was rumored that he effected cures of prescribed remedies to the sick during their dreams.


Asclepius was usually shown in a standing position, dressed in a long clock, holding a staff with a serpent coiled around it. The staff has since come to represent medicine's only symbol. In the Caduceus, used by physicians and the Military Medical Corp., the staff is winged and has two serpents intertwined. Even though this does not hold any medical relevance in origin, it represents the magic wand of the Greek diety, Hermes, messenger of the gods.


The Bible, in Numbers 21:9, makes reference to a serpent on a staff: "Moses accordingly made a bronze serpent and mounted it on a pole and whenever anyone who had been bitten by a serpent looked at the bronze serpent, he recovered.


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