The Star of Life is a blue, six-pointed star, outlined with a white border which features the rod of Asclepius in the center, originally designed and governed by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) (under the United States Department of Transportation, DOT).
Traditionally in the United States the logo was used as a stamp of authentication or certification for ambulances, paramedics or other EMS personnel. Internationally, it represents emergency medical services (EMS) units and personnel.
Originally, many ambulances used a safety orange cross on a square background of reflectorized white to designate them as emergency units. This logo was used before national standards for Emergency Medical Personnel or ambulances were established. Designed by Leo R. Schwartz, Chief of the EMS Branch, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Star of Life was created after the American National Red Cross complained in 1973 that the orange cross too closely resembled their logo, the red cross on a white background, its use restricted by the Geneva Conventions.
The newly designed Star of Life was adapted from the Medical Identification Symbol of the American Medical Association, which was trademarked by the American Medical Association (AMA) in 1967. The newly designed logo was trademarked on February 1, 1977 with the Commissioner of Patents and Trade-marks in the name of the National Highway Traffic Safety and Administration (registration number 1058022). The logo was "given" to the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) for use as the emergency medical technicians (EMT) logo after the trademark expired in 1997.