EMS Mascots Make a Big Impression
Bears! Dogs! Dinosaurs! Oh my! EMS mascots are everywhere, bringing cheer and friendly faces to what can be a scary business of lights, sirens and accidents.
The Hoboken Volunteer Ambulance Corps in Hoboken, New Jersey, has adopted a volunteer’s six-year-old Labrador Retriever, Maayan, for its mascot. In Nebraska and Texas, Medi-Tedi and Ready Teddy promote the Nebraska EMS program and the Texas Department of State Health Services, respectively. The Save-a-Life Foundation markets its programs with two cartoon mice named Perry Medic and EMy Tech, which the foundation hopes to turn into national EMS mascots.
And in Canada, Lyle Moffatt, president of Northeast EMS in Saskatchewan, hopes that the mascot he created, Terry the Traumasaurus, will become the EMS mascot north of the border or, perhaps, even internationally. “EMS needs a mascot that’s as recognizable as Smokey the Bear or Sparky the Firehouse Dog,” Moffatt said.
A Friendly Dinosaur
It was Moffatt’s work as a paramedic that gave him the idea to create a mascot. “I used to hand out plush teddy bears to the kids we were transporting,” he explained. But the bears he handed out wore a corporate sponsor’s logo. “I thought, ‘Why are we passing out mascots that promote someone else?'” he said. “We should be passing out mascots that promote EMS.”
Shortly after that revelation, Terry the Traumasaurus was born. Moffatt said he had an idea of what Terry should look like, but he worked closely with an illustrator to bring the EMS dinosaur to life. “In the first drawings, Terry looked a little weak, so we buffed him up,” Moffatt recalled. His focus, however, was on making Terry look as friendly and approachable as possible. “Dinosaurs were trendy at the time, but we didn’t want Terry to be a scary dinosaur,” he said.
So far, Terry has been a huge success. All of the EMS services in Saskatchewan province have adopted the EMS dinosaur as their mascot. If you would like to adopt Terry, too, contact Moffatt at (306) 862-2717 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Create Your Own EMS Mascot
Here are some tips on how to develop and market your own EMS mascot:
Develop kid-friendly products that use your mascot character.
Moffatt began with coloring books that provide tips on seatbelt and playground safety. Next, he developed temporary tattoos. “The kids love them, and they wear them for days,” he said. Finally, consider having your mascot made into a plush toy. “It gives the children something tangible to hold onto when they’re riding in the ambulance,” Moffatt said.
Invest in a mascot suit.
They’re expensive, Moffatt admitted, but they’re highly visible and provide instant identification in a crowd. “Kids swarm around ours,” Moffatt said. Just be sure that whoever wears the costume understands that being a mascot requires the same professional behavior one must exhibit while in uniform. Also, remember that some young children are afraid of larger-than-life mascots. Don’t take their reluctance personally. Just respect their wishes and keep your distance, giving them the opportunity to approach you when they are ready.
Rely on word-of-mouth marketing.
Moffatt advertised Terry in professional trade magazines, but once school groups began to learn about Terry, word-of-mouth outpaced any kind of advertising. Soon, Terry was one of the most recognizable faces in town.
Copyright both the mascot’s name and appearance once you’ve created it.
Use an attorney to help.