White to Navy Blue

Recently there has been talk about changing from white uniformed shirts to navy blue uniformed shirts.  The poll has shown that 70% were in favour of the blue shirts, so there will be a move to change the uniform colour.  The main reason was the difficulty in keeping the uniform clean and professional (clear of stains, blood etc).  Which I think is a fair reason, I can remember the hours I try getting the stains out of my shirt (although it’s nice to be able to see that your shirt is dirty or does have a spec of blood on it etc).  However, is navy blue a good choice of colour?

There is one reason why I would prefer white over navy blue:

Differentiation Between Other Emergency Services.

With the shift to navy blue, there is no longer a differentiation between Fire, Police, EMS or Security.  Often times, even when I’m in my white uniform, people mistaken me for police or security.  With the change in colour, it’ll be even harder for the public to differentiate the services, unless they can read our badges.  Normally that is not a problem, but it could be if a hostile patient mistaken paramedics as cops, how would they react, what if they have a gun that the crew was not aware of?  In BC, the glaring white shirt worn by paramedics easily identifies paramedics as part of the medical service and not as police officers.

However, one can argue that when paramedics have on their jackets and vests, they look very much like police officerse too (since the jackets are navy blue).  But there is one visible difference between the jackets and vests from the uniform shirts is the fact that there is a massive word:  “Paramedic” on the back and there is often also a very visible label on the front as well.

What are your thoughts about uniform colour?  Do you think colour really matters?


7 thoughts on “White to Navy Blue

  1. Personally, I would never dare look like an armed official if I weren’t one. I.e., resembling a cop that carries a gun when I am really a paramedic? No way.

    I think it is critical, to keep you guys from becoming targets that you look absolutely different from other responders. In Europe for example, there is a drive towards green, for medics and paramedics, blue for police and orange fire fighters. It’s easy to understand and the green color will set you apart without a doubt.

    I agree, green might not be the most flattering color, but have a chat with colleagues in Scotland for example, and see what they think.

    Here in Japan paramedics were light blue gowns and either navy caps or white helmets. The gowns make them look like oversized kindergarten children (because they are basically identical in form and color), but it keeps the paramedic out of harms way whenever they get into a stickier situation than normal.

    My advice: Go with green. NEVER blue or black.

    Green overalls, yellow reflective writing “PARAMEDIC” on the back and the medical symbol on arms. Cuff and lower legs marked with strips of reflective material in the same yellow, can be made differentiated by seniority/rank to help orient other responders on site.

  2. 15 years ago we went to navy blue here. We all had the same thoughts and trepidations. Turns out the navy blue was a god send! I would not go back. There was never an issue with being mistaken for police or anything but para’s.

  3. Hi am from kuwait EMS and our uniform is green actully dark green like iraqien republic gaurds and it scare the hell of my people! But they got used to it at the end any way like you, we prefare the blue becuase its commen to get the meterial and its much soother than the green fabric for the people eyes but the main problem is the staff they want deffrint things for them self!?

  4. Interesting; that the poll has shown 70% were in favour of the blue shirts. My husband claims that no one at his entire station voted for blue shirts. He also is already mistaken as RCMP and he is concerned that the blue shirts will make this problem worse. I’ve been washing his shirts for over 30 years; getting them clean is really not an issue. If you get blood on your shirt you should change it, don’t you think?
    Maybe the Liberal government will acknowledge them as an “emergency service” when they get their blue shirts!

    1. Hi Brenda,

      I have heard a lot of discrepancies as to whether the poll was accurate or not. Unfortunately there really is no way of knowing.

      “Maybe the Liberal government will acknowledge them as an “emergency service” when they get their blue shirts!” Lol, I’m crossing my fingers on that one, maybe all it’ll take is the colour to convince them 😉

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s