Statement from Oren Barzilay on City Hall Mental Health Announcement

“It is clear that New York City is facing a mental health crisis, with many emotionally disturbed individuals (ED) living on city streets, in shelters and neighborhoods everywhere.

The Board of EMS Local 2507 is willing to begin discussions about this new City Hall ED working group theory, but let’s be clear, we must have a full seat and voice at the table, along with significant discussions about safety and security for our members, as well as fair compensation for the new and extraordinary risks they are being asked to take.

Currently, each ED call in the City is dispatched through NYPD and is identified as high-risk to the responders, due to the uncertain mental and emotional condition of the subject of the emergency call. The De Blasio Administration is now asking our members, some barely paid above the minimum wage, to step into this even higher risk role, without physical protection.

The physical and psychological safety of FDNY EMS responders must be the first priority, but the city must also do much more to be sure that our own members can access PTSD counseling, not currently available to them, and there is no further excuse for the poverty wages this dedicated EMS workforce is forced to accept.

FDNY EMS members always put the health of our fellow New Yorkers ahead of our own, particularly during the current pandemic, which is significantly impacting our union workforce, many of whom have become sick or died as result.”

Oren Barzilay,
FDNY EMS Local 2507

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