Many moons ago in the far off distant past, when daily Ambulance station duties included getting fresh hay for the horses, the subject of quality Ambulance uniform and especially appropriate footwear was never far from our lips.
I was issued with my first pair of black, lace up shoes with a shiny patent leather look in eighteen hundred and frozen to death. I was to transform from a fashionable man about town wearing platform shoes, 20″ Oxford “baggies“, large collared (think Harry Hill) shirt, 3 Star decorated jumper and yellow and purple coloured “Budgie” jacket. My fashion sense was awesome!
Now I was kitted out in the kind of shoes that used to get kids beat up at school! My new attire was a dashing two piece tunic of blue with shiny silver buttons topped off with a peaked hat emblazoned with the County Ambulance Service badge of the time. Being ex forces I soon slashed my peak so it sat perched on the ridge of my nose, and shaped the top so that it sloped down both sides of my head. Looking back I must have looked like something off “On The Buses!”
For protection against the elements, and at RTAs, we were given a black knee length double breasted trench coat with waist belt. (This was followed shortly after with the issue of dark orange vests as worn by railway men due to the propensity of road staff becoming injured at night time.) A blue shirt was worn by us humble road staff and white shirts by Station Officers and the LAs (Leading Ambulancemen). A quantity of black neck ties were also issued (this is just shortly before the introduction of clip on ties).
For obvious reasons we were forever getting confused with the Police as their uniform was very similar to ours. This made attending drink related incidents interesting if not sometimes dangerous. Trying to reason with a drunk intent on taking on the world that you are not the Police when all he can see in his befuddled state is a blue tunic and silver buttons is the legend of times past in mess rooms up and down the country.
Of course in those days the job was different to todays shenanigans. Clinical assessment was the “Three Ps”
Pick em (from the floor/house/street)
Put em in (into the truck)
Piss off! (scoop & run to the nearest A/E)
Times have changed and the uniform now reflects our role on a more practical level. Non more so than that of the humble Ambulance foot wear. Over the years Ambulance staff have contributed to the design and development of a decent pair of “Dog Kickers.” When the situation arises and the need dictates then there is no more satisfying sound than that of the “muffled tunk!” as steel toecap connects with canine rear!
The only down side to the new footwear is the tread….fine for the extra grip when trying to purchase a hold on the motorway embankment or making light work of the frozen footpath….but an absolute bugger for getting dog shit out of before going home!
Perhaps a University type bod out there may wish to take this up as a project. The design and development of the perfect Ambulance Boot (aka Dog Kickers) with the added bonus of easy clean tread! Can you guess what one of my most recent jobs involved?