A converted ambulance is creating some controversy in Texas. Local EMTs are upset over the "Slambulance," a retired emergency vehicle transformed into a party van complete with stripper pole.
Paramedics at MedStar, a Fort Worth ambulance service, are saying the vehicle is misleading and dangerous. The owners of the Slambulance plan to use it for parties and events, NBCDFW.com reports.
The retired 1997 Ford ambulance is painted red and blue. "DFW Cougar & Kitten Rescue" is written in white letters on all sides and the vehicle even lights up.
But is it legal?
There aren't any specific Texas laws that prohibit owning an ambulance. Nor are there any such laws in any other state. While there are local laws regarding emergency vehicles, most generally relate to the type of lighting and decals that can be used.
For instance, in Oregon it's illegal to operate an ambulance that doesn't have warning lights.
While it doesn't appear that possessing an emergency vehicle is illegal per se, impersonating a public servant is a crime. Doing so is a third degree felony in Texas and can subject the perpetrator to a fine up to $10,000 and/or up to 10 years imprisonment.
However, the problem is that all EMTs aren't necessarily public servants. Unlike firefighters, many ambulance services are privately owned and funded.
The bigger issue regarding the Slambulance is that it could pose the risk that people might mistake it for a real ambulance. There's a possibility that some citizens may try to flag down the party vehicle to treat their injuries, as one MedStar employee said.
For now the Slambulance and its stripper pole appears to be here to stay, regardless of what some EMTs think.