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.

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Column 38 August/September 2012

Ambulances And Paramedics - A New Book

In Canada we now have five books featuring the history of our ambulance services. The first book, Smith's Ambulance, was written by Judy Weir and records the history of Smith's Ambulance Service of Edmonton from 1936 to 1978.

The second book, A Century of Red Blankets, was written by James A. Hanna and published in 1982. It is a history of ambulance services in Ontario. A third book is my Crestline - Building World Class Ambulances which I published in 2009. It presents the history of Crestline Coach. A fourth book is my EMS Classics - A Collection of Ambulance Photos published in 2011. Now, a fifth Canadian ambulance history book, Ambulances and Paramedics, has been written by Michael D. Plumbtree. (Several Professional Car books have also been written by Walter McCall of Windsor, ON and Thomas McPherson of Toronto, but those books focus on the vehicles themselves, few of which are from Canada).

The new Ambulances and Paramedics book is actually two books in one. Section I presents an historical account of ambulance services as they were provided in various places around the world beginning in 2500 BC and continuing to modern times. Section II provides a detailed account of the development of ambulance service in the city of Edmonton, AB beginning in the 1880s and continuing to present day EMS. Throughout, the book traces the evolution of vehicles, the services and the profession.

The author, Michael Plumbtree, who has 22 years of ambulance service in Alberta, began research for his book 12 years ago. Michael is currently employed as a Paramedic with Alberta Health Services, Emergency Medical Services, Edmonton Metro Ambulance.

Ambulances and Paramedics is a hard-cover book with 415 pages and more than 700 photos. Although expensive to purchase, the price is based solely on the cost of printing and shipping each individual book. It is a non-profit endeavour. The book can be previewed and purchased on the Blurb website

Several more Canadian ambulance history books are in the works at the present time. It seems the EMS profession in Canada has matured to the point where our history has begun to take on importance.

Copyright 2012 Peter adsten