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Lighthouse Uniform Company

A Brief History of EMS Class 'A' Dress Uniform

Marking the End of the Beginning

September 24th, 2007 (as seen on

What do Ken Bouvier, John Roquemore, Jim Allen, Jonathan Best, John Fitxsimmons, Marty Stillman and Jenalu Simpson all have in common?   They were among leaders of a group of EMT’s feeling the time had come to join Police and Fire at the Emergency Service world’s ‘head table’

Not unlike the garbage men of the last generation who proclaimed ‘we are not garbage men, we are sanitation engineers’, Steve Berry’s cartoon character reflects the feeling of much of the EMT community when he shouts from the top of his rescue vehicle, ‘we are not ambulance drivers, we are prehospital care providers’.

Vision, attitude, desire and leadership all coalesced in a phone call from John  Roquemore in the spring of 2002.   John was gearing up to become the president of the NAEMT. He was very passionate about the need and value of standardizing and implementing a national EMT Class ‘A’ Dress Uniform.

After numerous phone calls, history lessens and prototypes, samples were readied to present to the EMT Community ‘at large’.   A space was secured at the 2002 EMS EXPO, a display was created, literature was printed and the EMT Class ‘A’ was presented.

Unfortunately, almost to a man, everyone who saw the new uniform asked, ‘why would anyone want one of those?’   It was a major disappointment, but as happens sometimes, the ‘heads’ of the group were pretty far out in front of the ‘body’.   The decision was made to pull back and regroup.   A couple years went by before the ‘Roquemore’ Class ‘A’ was reintroduced. The same show, same uniform, far different result.   This time, almost everyone that went by the display suggested, ‘we’ve been talking about dress uniforms for a couple of years’.

Focusing on and addressing the need to reflect certification, longevity, the myriad of sizes within the EMT community, the relationship to the Fire Service and the desire for a unique EMT look, the new EMT Class ‘A’ Dress Uniform has been deemed ‘spot on’.

The new Class ‘A’ is still working its way into the fabric of America’s EMS world with the charge being led by John Roquemore and Ken Bouvier in Louisiana and Don Lundy in South Carolina.   Interestingly, one of the first organizations to move as a group into the new EMT Class ‘A’ was an Honor Guard ‘championed’ by Tim Woods and implemented by Kentucky’s, Boyd County EMS.

Attesting to the dress uniforms universal interest within the EMS Community, the Virgin Island EMS, under the guidance of Supervisor Carman Wheatley, recently purchased uniforms for staff on St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix. “It was time for us to look professional.   It wasn’t easy, but it was worth it”, suggested Ms. Wheatley.

Newest interest is coming from the Northeast with leadership being shown by Marty Stillman and the Rocky Hill Volunteer Ambulance Association and Sandy Smith and Chester New Jersey’s Volunteer First Aid Squad. Understanding and appreciating the value of this new dress uniform, several ambulance companies made purchases for their ‘Star of Life’ Award recipients to wear at this years AAA ‘Star of Life’ Awards Assembly in Washington DC.

It appears there is a bright future for the new EMS Class ‘A’ Dress Uniform as the EMS Community marks the end of its beginning, dresses up and takes its rightful place at America’s Emergency Service’s ‘head table’.

To talk about specifics, call 1-800-426-5225.   Ask for me.

Steve Cohen, Pres.
Lighthouse Uniform Company
Home of the Fallen Fire Fighter Dress Uniform Program

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