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Despite Record Activity, EMS Workers Are Lowest-paid First Responders

November 30, 2019 | Michael Barasch

Despite Record Activity, EMS Workers Are Lowest-paid First Responders

New York City’s Emergency Medical Services units handled approximately 1.5 million calls in 2018. That was a new record high, but the professionals who work for that department are still paid significantly less than other first responders. For more than 20 years, EMS has operated within the FDNY, and its significantly smaller workforce responds to over twice as many calls as the rest of the department.

Unions that represent the city’s emergency medical technicians, paramedics and EMS officers are pressing Mayor de Blasio and other municipal leaders for salary increases that would put their members’ pay in line with other workers charged with protecting the lives of city residents. The unions are looking to raise public awareness of difficulties facing these first responders, including their:

  • Pay gap — As they work within the same department, it might be assumed that the 4,000 EMTs and paramedics make just as much as the 11,000 firefighters, but this is not true at all. A fifth-year firefighter could make nearly $50,000 more than a paramedic and almost $60,000 more than an EMT with the same years of service.
  • Expanded duties — EMS workers are highly skilled professionals who do much more than transport patients and perform CPR. These men and women are now trained to respond to active-shooter incidents, biohazards and terrorist attacks in addition to their traditional duties.
  • Job-related injuries and illnesses — When someone’s life is at stake, there is no time to waste, regardless of the conditions., EMTs and paramedics risk injury and illness on every call, including the dangers of traveling in ambulances at high speeds and of coming in close contact with people suffering from infectious diseases

City officials counter that EMTs and paramedics (who make earn slightly higher salaries than EMTs due to additional medical training) shouldn’t receive the same compensation as other first responders because the jobs are so different. But increasingly there is more crossover in the duties assigned to various public safety departments. EMS officers and rank-and-file workers hope their paychecks will soon reflect the critical role that they play in protecting New York City residents, workers and visitors.

Barasch & McGarry provides aggressive representation for injured EMS workers. If you suffered a serious injury on the job, we can assert your right to full compensation. To schedule a free consultation, please call [ln::phone] or contact us online.

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