From Iceland — New Rescue Squad Uniform Design Causes Controversy

New Rescue Squad Uniform Design Causes Controversy

Published December 15, 2017

Andie Sophia Fontaine
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The design of a new uniform for Icelandic rescue workers (ICE-SAR) has not been universally well received, despite being three years in the making.

Vísir reports that the new uniform features bright yellow shoulders, but otherwise the classic red-and-blue theme has been retained. This design was inspired by the repeated suggestion from rescue workers that the uniform make them more visible.

While the colour chosen accomplishes that, it is safe to say that this new design has not been warmly embraced by everyone. One unnamed ICE-SAR worker took to Facebook to liken the design to “a city employee vomiting on the uniform”.

Jón Ingi Sigvaldason of ICE-SAR told reporters that the new design has been three years in the making. Nonetheless, in response to complaints he described as coming from “a small, loud group” of ICE-SAR workers, a special uniform committee has been established to review their grievances.

“[ICE-SAR] is a very democratic organisation, and we have committees about everything possible,” he said. “Management decided to response to the dissatisfaction that has been in play. … We have been looking for a tasteful solution, and have found it. But when changes are made, not everyone is going to be happy with them.”

Almost all ICE-SAR workers are volunteers, and they pay for their own uniforms; about 66,000 ISK for the pants and jacket alone, although a portion of the cost is refunded.

Jón says he welcomes the discussion about the uniform, saying that it is a “sign of a healthy democratic discussion” within ICE-SAR.

“People have different needs in this job,” he said. “Fortunately, there is critical discussion at play in most of what we do.”

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