EMS Vehicle Signage and Labeling

Bureau of EMS Policy Statement
Policy Statement # 14-03
Date December 31, 2014
Subject EMS Vehicle Signage & Labeling
Supercedes/Updates 98-08


The purpose of this policy statement is to provide clarification of the requirements pertaining to the labeling and signage of NYS Certified ambulances and emergency ambulance service vehicles (EASVs). The applicable governing regulations are 10 NYCRR Part 800.21(e), which defines the requirements for the exterior labeling of all ambulances and emergency ambulance service vehicles (EASVs) and 10 NYCRR Part 800.4(a), which restricts the display of the word "Ambulance" to only motor vehicles, aircraft, and boats certified by the Department.


These regulations, 800.21(e) and 800.4(a), were adopted to protect the public. They were respectively intended to clearly identify the DOH certificate holder operating a certified EMS vehicle, and to prohibit the display of the word "ambulance" on all land, air, and water vehicles, other than Department of Health certified ambulances.

For contract, marketing and other reasons, some agencies may have placed the names and logos of organizations other than the DOH certificate holder on vehicles as part of the signage or labeling displayed. Other services may have used modern design technology to create striking vehicle graphics for their EMS vehicles. In certain situations, either of these actions may have the unintended consequence of violating Part 800.21(e) or Part 800.4(a).


  • All certified ambulance services must: "Display on the exterior of both sides and the back of all ambulances and emergency ambulance service vehicles the name of the service in letters not less than 3 inches in height and clearly legible. The logo provided by the department shall also be displayed on both sides and the back of every ambulance and shall be removed upon sale or transfer of the vehicle."[10 NYCRR Part 800.21(e)]
  • "The word "ambulance" may not be displayed on a vehicle, aircraft, or boat except on a vehicle, aircraft, or boat registered with the department as an ambulance except to comply with 800.21 (e)." [10 NYCRR Part 800.4(a)]


  • It is the Department's duty to protect the public's right to easily identify the DOH certified provider of an EMS service, and to protect the public from labeling and signage that may be misleading, or in the worst case, blatantly fraudulent.
  • The name (or DBA) of the certified entity, as it appears on the DOH Ambulance Service Certificate, must be displayed predominately, larger than any other name, and in a manner that does not confuse the identity of the actual DOH certified operator. Any other name or lettering displayed (hospital, industrial corporation, etc.) must be smaller in size and secondary in relationship to the name of the DOH certified entity.
  • The statement 'Operated for' may be used, as appropriate, to indicate a relationship to the second entity.
  • Any labeling design which includes a second name is subject to the approval of the Department. Services are required to submit actual or conceptual designs to the Bureau of EMS & Trauma Systems for prior approval.
  • If a certified EMS agency's name contains the word "ambulance", the word "ambulance" may be displayed on an EASV operated by the agency, but only to the extent necessary to comply with Part 800.21(e), and only as part of the agency's complete and entire name. Additionally, the word "ambulance" must be of the same size, or smaller than, other labeling that identifies the DOH certified operator.
  • If a vehicle is markedwith "advanced life support", "paramedics" or with any similar level of care identification, the service operator must ensure that the vehicle is staffed by personnel at the advertised level of care, at all times when the vehicle is in service.
  • Labeling a certified EMS vehicle in any manner that constitutes "false advertising", as declared unlawful and defined by Article 22-A of NYS General Business Law, is also a violation of 10 NYCRR Part 800.2 ["Applicability of Other Laws, Codes, Rules, and Regulations"].


The name of the service requirement does not apply to an agency when operating a service for a municipality under the provisions of PHL 3008.7a. In these cases all operations are the responsibility of the licensed entity and since the service is operated by the municipality, all vehicles must bear the name of the entity. The specifics of any such arrangement should be discussed with the Department prior to implementation.