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EMS Classics is a feature column I write for Canadian Paramedicine.

It is my attempt at giving the younger generation who work in EMS today, a snapshot into the history of ambulance service.

If you are interested in purchasing the images or the text copyright to any of the columns please email me at EMSClassics@shaw.ca

All proceeds are donated to the Paramedic Association of Canada Benevolent Society.

1970 Superior Cadillac

Steve Loftin EMSClassics.com Column
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Column 27 August/September 2010

Scoop 'N Run

Prior to the 1970s the public was served by ambulance services whose emphasis was on transport, not treatment. EMS training had not yet been developed and medical equipment for out-of-hospital use had not yet been invented. Ambulance regulation was lacking which resulted in a wide range of service being provided by funeral homes, private ambulance firms, municipalities, hospitals and volunteer organizations. Some ambulance services provided efficient, quality transportation with a bit of first aid thrown in - others did not. Those ambulance attendants who had a bit of training and considered themselves more professional were quick to criticize other ambulance services (especially if they were competitors). A common derogatory remark to describe another service was "they're a real Scoop 'n Run outfit". A variation of this term used by Americans was "they're a Scoop 'em Up Squad".

Actually, the term "Scoop" was a fitting description of patient loading procedures of the era. Police and bystanders often were critical of ambulance attendants who would take the time to bandage a wound or immobilize a limb before loading the patient, after all everyone knew that medical attention began when the patient reached the emergency door of the hospital, so why waste time bandaging and immobilizing? The term 'Scoop' was also used to describe ambulance equipment. When Ferno-Washington invented a devise in the early 1970s for picking up and handling patients, they named it the Ferno model 65 Scoop Stretcher.

Another common term used to describe ambulance services of the era was "Load 'n Go". And looking at the attached photo of Randall Eastern's 1970 Superior Cadillac in Miami, Florida it occurred to me there was another term that could have been applied to ambulance services of the time. It's difficult to see in the photo, but across the street from the ambulance is a GIT-N-GO convenience store sign. Git 'n Go would have described many ambulance services of the era.

EMS has come a very long way during the past thirty years. Aren't you grateful the days of Git 'n Go, Load 'n Go and Scoop 'n Run are long gone?

Copyright 2010 Peter Adsten