New York City enacts new safety legislation for FDNY EMS workers

May 2, 2024
FDNY Bronx New York Fire fighters

New safety measures for FDNY EMS announced by Mayor Eric Adams

On May 1, 2024, Mayor Eric Adams signed two pivotal bills aimed at enhancing safety protocols for frontline emergency medical service (EMS) workers of the New York Fire Department (FDNY).

The legislation, backed by the New York City Council, marks a significant step in fortifying the safety measures for these critical first responders.

Legislation details and implications

The newly enacted bills, introduced by City Council Minority Leader Joseph Borelli, focus on two main areas of safety enhancement.

Introduction 126-A mandates that all EMS employees be equipped with body armor that meets the ballistic- and stab-resistance standards set by the National Institute of Justice.

Additionally, Introduction 127-A requires that the FDNY provide de-escalation and self-defense training to EMS workers.

Although the FDNY has been voluntarily providing such equipment and training for over two decades, this legislation now legally binds the department to these practices.

Reactions from city officials and implications

Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh expressed her gratitude and outlined the benefits of the new legislation, emphasizing the protection it offers to EMS workers.

Kavanagh said: “FDNY EMS members respond to calls day and night, delivering crucial emergency medical care to New Yorkers.

“Their safety is incredibly important, as is providing them with the protection they need.

“While the FDNY already provided body armor to all EMTs, we are grateful to the mayor and the City Council for supporting our efforts.”

Mayor Eric Adams highlighted the often perilous situations EMS workers face and the city’s commitment to their safety.

Adams stated: “They are the ones who are providing emergency medical care to New Yorkers — often unsure of what is going to take place when they walk through the doors.

“Often times, they respond before other first responders. They are the selfless heroes who show up when we need them the most.”

He added: “Our EMS employees always have the backs of New Yorkers, and we want to make sure we have them covered, as well, with this legislation.”

The legislation was unanimously approved by the New York City Council on April 11.

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