Criteria and Specifications for
Use of the “Star of Life” Symbol

The “Star of Life” is a certification mark that was issued on February 1, 1977 (Certificate of Registration No. 1,058,022) by the Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The certification mark is to be used on emergency medical care vehicles to certify that they meet Federal standards; by emergency medical care personnel to certify, based on their training and affiliation with qualified emergency medical care system, that they are authorized to provide emergency medical care; on road maps and highway signs to indicate the location of or access to qualified emergency medical care service; and such other EMS-related uses that the Administrator of NHTSA may authorize. Any other use is prohibited. Unauthorized use shall be reported to the NHTSA Administrator for investigation and legal action as may be required.

NHTSA authorized the States (as defined in 23 U.S.C. Section 401) and Federal agencies with EMS involvement to permit use of the “Star of Life” symbol for the following purposes.

  1. To identify emergency medical care vehicles that meet the Federal Specifications for Ambulances-Emergency Care Vehicles (KKK-C-1822 GSA-FSS) or are authorized by a State or Federal agency involved in the provision of emergency medical care.
  2. To indicate the location of and access to qualified emergency medical services.
  3. On patches or other apparel or personal items (such as badges, lapel pins, buckles, name plates, plaques, etc.) worn or used by an individual:
    1. who:
      i. has satisfactorily completed any training course that meets or exceeds the U.S. Department of Transportation National Standard Curricula or has been approved by a State or Federal agency involved in the provision of emergency medical care; and
      ii. is authorized by a State of Federal agency involved in the provision of emergency medical care to participate in a qualified emergency medical care system; or
    2. who by title and function is authorized by a State or Federal agency involved in the provision of emergency medical care to administer, directly supervise, or otherwise participate in all or a specific part of a qualified emergency medical care system.
  4. On bracelets or other items of apparel worn by a patient to inform authorized emergency medical care providers to medical conditions or to identify appropriate treatment with regard to that patient, in accordance with programs established by a State or Federal agency involved in the provision of emergency medical care.
  5. On training materials that meet or exceed the U.S. Department of Transportation National Standard Curricula or have been approved by a State or Federal agency involved in the provision of emergency medical care.
  6. On materials such as books, pamphlets, letterheads, plans, manuals, reports, and publications that either have direct EMS application or were generated by an EMS organization. An EMS organization is an organization that either is involved in the provision of emergency medical care or represents persons or organizations who are so involved.
  7. To identify medical equipment and supplies intended for use by authorized emergency medical care providers in the provision of emergency medical care.
  8. By entrepreneurs engaged in the production of medical equipment and supplies or the publication of materials described above.

The following restrictions apply to the use of the "Star of Life":

  1. As a registered certification mark, the "Star of Life" must always be accompanied by the symbol consisting of a capital letter R surrounded by a circle, i.e. ®. This marking shall appear immediately adjacent to the "Star of life" on all decals, uniform patches, printed material, plaques, pins, buckles, name plates, etc. Where the item consists solely of the "Star of Life" and does not have an adjacent surface of surrounding area (e.g. a lapel pin), the ® shall appear on the reverse side of the item.
  2. The specifications below include a sample of the registered blue "Star of Life" symbol, and identify the color of the symbol and its dimensions (for three sizes). Deviations in size may be made, provided they are proportionate. Other deviations may be made, provided they create the same commercial impression created by the registered mark.
  3. Some manner of demarcation (such as function-identifying words or letters printed on bars and attached across the bottom separately, and edging of different colors) should be used on patches or other apparel or personal items (such as badges, lapel pins, buckles, name plates, plaques, etc.) worn or used by an individual, to distinguish those worn or used by an individual:
    1. who:
      i. has satisfactorily completed any training course that meets or exceeds the U.S. Department of Transportation National Standard Curricula or has been approved by a State or Federal agency involved in the provision of emergency medical care; and
      ii. is authorized by a State of Federal agency involved in the provision of emergency medical care to participate in a qualified emergency medical care system;
    from those worn or used by an individual:
    1. who by title and function is authorized by a State or Federal agency involved in the provision of emergency medical care to administer, directly supervise, or otherwise participate in all or a specific part of a qualified emergency medical care system.