striped toe socks

These could get you fired. Photo: Corbis Images

Somebody call 911, harsh dress code on the dance floor!

Paramedics may be good at saving lives, but a strict new dress code implemented by Britain's North West Ambulance Service is causing some employees' fashion sense to flatline, the Telegraph reports.

The new rules have banned paramedics from wearing wristwatches, excessive makeup, tattoos, visible body piercings and -- say it ain't so -- novelty socks featuring fun patterns or cartoon characters, according to the paper.

(Ouch. That last one hurt.)

And if paramedics should dare wear, say, too much eyeliner, or perhaps a pair of Hello Kitty socks, they could reportedly be disciplined or even fired.

"We would expect our staff to wear uniforms provided and do not feel that novelty socks with slogans and images are appropriate for presenting a professional image to patients and members of the public," Jon Lenney, the service's Director of Organizational Development, told the paper.

"The trust does provide full uniform, including plain dark socks, and as the role of frontline staff requires physical movement, socks can be visible."

Though we suspect that we won't notice or care too much if the person performing CPR on us is wearing teddy bear socks, the ambulance service reportedly insists that the dress guidelines are in place for health and safety reasons.

For instance, wristwatches and some jewelry have been banned because they can carry dangerous germs, the source says.

Not surprisingly, there are a few unhappy campers. "I am a firm believer in having a dress code but this is stretching the rules too far," Jonathan Fox, spokesman for the Association of Professional Ambulance Personnel, told the source.

"The majority of staff wear boots so their socks can't even be seen. North West Ambulance Service should be addressing more important issues like why paramedic training has been stalled for months.

"To concentrate on socks seems fairly innocuous -- it's not like there's been an epidemic of novelty sock wearing! Perhaps this is just something to divert our attention from the bigger issues."

It looks doubtful that the paramedics will be rescued from the dress code, but we'll be slipping on some "Family Guy" socks as a show of support. Fight the power, kids. Meanwhile, read about the controversy over a grocery store's pajama ban.