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EMS, EMS 2.0

Arby’s Roast Beef Ad angers EMTs, not sure why

Grab your pitch forks kids, this is going to get uncomfortable.


Paramedics on Facebook recently shared an image credited to a person they call “Jason.”  Thank you for posting the pic Jason, if that is your real name.  The image is from an Arby’s Roast Beef Sandwich fast food place that serves a good item at a fair price.  There, that’s out of the way, now give me my curly fries.


The image is meant to encourage employment applicants by showing them that if they start at Arby’s they could move up to being an EMT.  Not a direct promotion you understand, but a starting point to other things.  The image (in case it is taken down) shows a torso with an Arby’s apron on one side and in a uniform holding an orange bag on the other.

Clearly their message is “We know you’re looking for something else, why not start here?”

I get it.  I love it. I support it 100%.

We in EMS seem to have a hate-hate relationship with the fast food service industry lately and I can’t figure out why.  One of them attracts people with questionable motives, gives them barely any training then let’s them handle complicated equipment and interact with the public without any training or oversight.  The other takes me to the hospital.

American EMTs are some of the least trained technicians around and we keep it that way on purpose.  We wave a few weeks of night school at an 18 year old with the promise of red lights and sirens and hope they don’t notice the pay and conditions suck at their inter facility transfer company.

Besides, I can’t remember the last time I went into a food establishment and saw anyone under 30 doing anything more than busing tables.

If you want to get upset at the Arby’s ad, fine, but realize that we were actually chosen as a profession someone should aspire to attain.

Someone at the ad agency for Arby’s had their pick of trades to choose.  Her half could have been a baker, a construction worker, in scrubs or any number of easily recognizable jobs.

They chose that little blue star and are telling the community “Start here, go anywhere” and one of those anywheres is us.  You may not like our little seat at the far end of the table but we’re slowly getting there.

Now take your outrage and wonder why you think it’s funny to give a failing intern a fast food application yet still get upset at this ad.


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  1. Doug April 6, 2017 8:36 pm

    I know the EMT on whom this ad was based. Not sure why EMS providers are working themselves into a tizzy about it. The EMT I speak of is intelligent responsible and competent

    How many current EMTs and paramedics worked in fast food early in their working life? How many currently do in addition to their EMS job?

  2. Joe Smith April 7, 2017 8:40 pm

    I would suggest one correction to this well written article.

    “One of them attracts people of questionable motives, gives them barely any training …… interact with the public without any training or oversight. The other makes my roast beef sandwiches.”

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