Press coverage of NY City Council Bill to protect EMS workers with body armor and self-defense training

New York Post

NYC Council approves bills to give EMS workers body armor, self-defense training as assaults rise

Haley Brown | April 11, 2024

FDNY Emergency Medical Services workers will have access to body armor and special training as part of legislation passed Thursday by the City Council to address an increase in attacks on first responders.

The pair of bills, authored by Minority Leader Joseph Borelli, would require the FDNY to provide EMTs and paramedics with bullet- and stab-proof armored vests along with self-defense and de-escalation training.

Mayor Eric Adams must still sign the bills, which had stalled in committee last year.

An EMS union head told The Post in February that the increased danger is causing “extremely low” morale among first responders.

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Adams declines to say if he’ll sign newly-passed council bills requiring EMS workers be given body armor

By Ethan Stark-Miller | April 12, 2024

Mayor Eric Adams on Friday declined to say whether or not he would sign newly passed City Council legislation requiring the Fire Department to provide bullet and stab resistant body armor to emergency medical services workers.The bill, which passed the council 48 to 0 on Thursday, would essentially codify an already existing practice of providing body armor to emergency services medical workers, while setting requirements that the vests meet the National Institute of Justice’s bullet and stab resistant standards. A second measure passed Thursday would require the FDNY to train EMS workers in de-escalation and self-defense every three years

Oren Barzilay, president of FDNY EMS Local 2507, said in a statement that if the mayor doesn’t sign the bill, “it means they don’t want to pay us for the dangers we face.” EMS workers within the FDNY are paid less than firefighters — as well as all other first responders, according to the union — and have been fighting for pay-parity within the department for many years.

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The Chief

Council passes EMS body armor, self-defense training bills

BY DUNCAN FREEMAN | April 12, 2024

The FDNY will be mandated to provide every member of their EMS service with body armor and training in both self-defense and de-escalation, according to two bills passed by the City Council Thursday. 

The legislation, introduced by Staten Island Council Member Joseph Borelli in November, was in response to the increased number of assaults on FDNY EMTs and paramedics since the pandemic.

Oren Barzilay, the president of Local 2507 which represents the FDNY’s EMTs and paramedics, was thankful for the Council’s passage of the bills, but said the bills “fell short of what we really needed,” because they don’t mandate that the FDNY replace vests when they exceed their lifespan.

“What happens again five, 10 years from now? Are we going to have to do this again and amend the legislation?” the union leader said during a phone interview with The Chief. He added that EMTs and Paramedics would be safer if they all worked in three-person crews in their ambulances instead of the usual two.

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EMS Bills Spark Debate About ‘Plantation’ System At FDNY

Unions representing the mostly women and people of color who comprise the majority of FDNY EMS first responders in New York City tell Work-Bites efforts by the City Council to better protect the workforce from deadly attacks on the job only underscores the pay and benefit disparity between them — and the mostly white males who constitute the bulk of FDNY firefighters.

Last week, the City Council voted to require that all FDNY EMS workers get a properly fitted bullet resistant vest as well as de-escalation training. The legislation comes several weeks after press reports revealing that assaults and threats to EMTS had skyrocketed from just 15 incidents in 2011, when the FDNY started tracking them — to 363 in 2022.

Oren Barzilay, president of DC 37’s Local 2507, which represents FDNY EMTs, paramedics, and fire inspectors, expressed some concerns about the Council’s legislation.

“I am grateful for the council’s work. However, the bills fall short of what our members need,” Barzilay wrote in response to a Work-Bites query. “The department has issued ballistic vests to us for years, but the issue is its replacement policy. These vests expire after five years and according to the FDNY’s policy, you get the vest the first time in your career, and you’re done.”

Barzilay continued, “I also think it should be outlawed for our members to be by themselves in the back of an ambulance. We need to move on three-man crews. The council should also prioritize passing legislation giving us pay parity. Everyone acknowledges and agrees EMS deserves it.”

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CBS News

FDNY required to give EMTs bulletproof vests under bill approved by New York City Council

By Ali Bauman | April 11, 2024

NEW YORK — New York City Council approved a bill Thursday requiring the FDNY to give bulletproof vests to EMTs.

Supporters say it’s necessary as threats against first responders intensify.

Natasha Nembhard joined the FDNY first as an EMT and now as a paramedic in Brooklyn because she loves to help people.

“I wanted to take care of people. I didn’t know that I was gonna be a victim,” she said.

She says over the years, 911 calls have become more dangerous. On one recent call, she responded to for a man who was passed out on the street.

“There isn’t a day where I don’t get notified where one, two, or sometimes there’s days where there’s six or eight EMTs or paramedics that are assaulted,” said Oren Barzilay, president of the Local 2507 union for uniformed EMTs and paramedics.

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Fox 5 New York

NYC Council approves bills to give EMS workers bullet, stab-proof vests amid rising assaults

By Linda Schmidt | April 12, 2024

New bill requires protective vests for NYC EMTs

The New York City Council has approved a pair of bills to provide EMTs and paramedics with bulletproof vests, in the wake of assaults against the FDNY personnel reaching an all-time high. FOX 5 NY’s Linda Schmidt has the story.

NEW YORK – The New York City Council has approved a pair of bills that will provide EMTs and paramedics with bulletproof and stab-proof vests.

The decision comes in response to an increase in attacks on EMS workers in the city. In 2022 alone, Local 2507, the union representing the city’s uniformed emergency medical workers, says there were 363 assaults on personnel.

“We have members out there who have a vest that’s 5, 10, 15, 20 years old. So, we needed language to enforce the department to change this vest every five years, and that’s what’s missing in this legislation,” said Oren Barzilay Local 2507 President.

He also says self-defense and de-escalation training which is required every three years should be increased.

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