Mayor Adams signs legislation to boost safety for FDNY EMTs and Paramedics with new body armor and self defense training

Mayor Eric Adams holds a public hearing and bill signing for Intro. 126 to provide body armor to Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY) employees who provide emergency medical services and Intro. 127 to provide de-escalation and self-defense training to FDNY employees who provide emergency medical services.
Photo by Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office

Mayor Eric Adams signed two pieces of legislation this month that will provide self-defense training and body armor to Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and Paramedics in the FDNY.

Council Members Joann Ariola, who represents central and south Queens neighborhoods, and Joe Borelli, who represents Staten Island south, sponsored the legislation, which provides EMS workers with added protections while on duty.

The signing of Intro. 126, which gives ballistic vests to EMS employees, and Intro. 127, which provides de-escalation and self-defense training, comes after attacks on paramedics across the city have increased in recent years.

In his remarks, the mayor praised the council members for their advocacy and emphasized the importance of EMS workers. “Today, we’re making sure the city continues to move in the right direction for their protection,” Adams said. “By providing extra protection for them while they are out on the streets, saving lives, this sends the right message that our first responders will always be under our care and protection.”

Councilwoman Ariola, who chairs the fire and emergency management committee, continues to work with fellow legislators to fulfill the needs of emergency service workers at the city council.

“Our EMS workers are often the first on the scene of an emergency, and these pieces of legislation will help ensure that they are prepared for whatever might be waiting for them when they respond to a call,” Ariola said.

In 2022, FDNY EMS Lieutenant Allison Russo was killed in an unprovoked attack while on the job in Astoria, Queens. Her death by a knife-wielding man generated further discussions and frustrations from union members and first responders. Another incident involving the death of EMT Yadira Arroyo while responding to an emergency call highlighted the daily risks of medical responders.

Borelli, who served as the city council’s previous chair of fire and emergency management, says he wishes the bills were signed sooner, although it would have been better not to need to implement the legislation.