Solidarity with EMTs and paramedics

The members of NYSNA pride themselves on providing care to ALL New Yorkers. This could not be done without the hard work and dedication of emergency medical technicians (EMTs)and paramedics.

On September 25, NYSNA Board Member Anne Bove, RN, spoke at a rally on the steps of city hall on behalf of fellow nurses in extending support for EMTs and paramedics. In New York City, they are also part of the Fire Department of New York (FDNY), which provides more and more medical care.

That’s reflected in the training for EMTs in NYC, which includes how to:

  • rush into burning buildings,
  • aid firefighters,
  • brave an active shooter (to reach the wounded), and
  • endure assaults from patients.

Add to this list all the necessary requirements of giving advanced and life-saving care onsite and during transport of patients.

BASE PAY FOR EMTS LAGS

There are 4,100 paramedics and EMTs in NYC. Medical calls, not fire calls, make up most of the FDNY work. While they are a skilled workforce inside FDNY, the difference in pay and benefits with firefighters is very substantial. In 2018, more than 80 percent of the 1.7 million incidents to which FDNY responded were medical.

But base pay for EMTs lags. After five years on the job:

  • EMTs receive $50,604 annually;
  • paramedics receive $65,226 annually;
  • firefighters earn $85,292 annually.

Regarding benefits, EMTs and paramedics (who come in contact with sickness) receive 12 days of sick time per year. Sick days for firefighter are unlimited. Firefighters, however, are more likely to die on the job than paramedics or EMTs.

EMTs and paramedics regularly encounter hazards similar to those faced by police and firefighters. The injury rate of EMTs and paramedics is three times higher than the national average of the general population, according to a 2013 University of Maryland study.

Assaults on paramedics and EMTs in NYC increased by nearly 50 percent between 2015 and 2018, according to a testimony from EMS Chief James Booth before the NYC Council.

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