Off topic – EMS Week and the dark-side FDNY EMS poster

While I am in an off-topic mood, let’s go a bit further and have a look at the latest Fire Department of New York EMS Week poster. The poster for 2012 has produced mixed reviews about the impression it presents of EMS, especially around New York City. You can read the Rogue Paramedic and the SocialMedic blogs to get an idea. Comparisons have been made between the “dark side” of the NYFD EMS faceless medic poster being overdramatic, much like Batman in the Gotham City “Dark Night” theatre posters.

NY EMS week 2012
2012 poster
CLICK to enlarge

Firstly, I believe that National EMS week in the United States is a great concept and a similar style of promotional activity should be duplicated each year in Australia; possibly even as a joint arrangement between the two countries. Second, emergency response organisations like NYFD command large budgets that allow them to commit substantial funds to public relations projects. There are many smaller agencies that cannot even contemplate this level of PR funding so it is essential that the larger agencies take the lead. I am well aware of the trials and tribulations that have taken place between New York’s fire and EMS over the years but it is good to see the effort in producing the poster for EMS week. I believe 2012 is the third year running that NYFD has produced a national week poster. In all fairness, it is very difficult to photograph an image that communicates the humanity or reality of EMS. Therefore some poster years may well create better designs than others.

NY 2010 Poster
2010 Poster
CLICK to enlarge

I must admit my first impression of the 2012 poster left me worried by the dark style….but the image soon started to grow on me! I think the poster will definitely appeal to the generation X and Y’s even if it still retains some small potential to scare younger children. Maybe a lot more emphasis should be placed on the video clips that are released alongside the posters each year. In the 2012 video, NYFD Rescue-medic Don Faeth does a great job of narration, revealing along the way that he was the person photographed for the latest poster. The earlier 2011 video was also highly successful in portraying the true human side of EMS. I really can’t wait to see the poster next year.

Here are the videos:


About John Killeen (Ambulance Visibility)

John Killeen is a former Intensive Care Paramedic who authors the Ambulance Visibility research website & blog
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