Australian paramedics add Braille to ID cards to better help blind patients

The addition is part of a partnership between an EMS service and a non-profit that supports the blind and low vision community


By EMS1 Staff

AUSTRALIA — An Australian ambulance service is adding Braille to its paramedics’ ID cards to better help blind and low vision patients in emergency situations.

The new Braille stickers, which read “Ambulance” and “000” (the Australian version of 911), are meant to ensure patients that professional help has arrived. The stickers are now being provided to Ambulance Victoria paramedics through a partnership with non-profit organization Vision Australia.

Chris Edwards, Vision Australia manager of government relations and advocacy, holds a paramedic ID card with the newly released Braille sticker, with Seeing Eye Dog Odie and Ambulance Victoria Paramedics Kate Taylor and Carl Attwood.
Chris Edwards, Vision Australia manager of government relations and advocacy, holds a paramedic ID card with the newly released Braille sticker, with Seeing Eye Dog Odie and Ambulance Victoria Paramedics Kate Taylor and Carl Attwood.

“Anyone can claim they are a paramedic. But how would a patient who is blind know if someone is an actual paramedic? Having braille on our ID cards acts as an identification marker so you have something to prove it,” said Kate Taylor, a paramedic at Ambulance Victoria.  

The idea originated in the U.K. when a London Ambulance Service paramedic needed to identify himself to a blind patient who had not called for an ambulance and was surrounded by strangers, Vision Australia says. Ambulance Victoria is the first service in Australia to use Braille on IDs.

“Situations where you need help from a paramedic are likely to be extremely stressful. The stickers are a simple way to let people who are blind or have low vision know they’re receiving help from a trusted source and help put them at ease,” said Vision Australia Government Relations and Advocacy Manager Chris Edwards.

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