Cuomo signs EMS anti-assault bill into law
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed into law legislation to put more teeth into existing laws protecting emergency medical technicians and other first responders from being assaulted on the job.
The new law seeks to provide stronger protection for emergency medical service paramedics and technicians who are attacked by individuals who intend to cause bodily injury while the EMS workers are performing their duties. Under the new law, it will no longer be necessary to determine that the intent of the assailant is to hinder an EMS worker’s ability to perform his or her duties in order to file felony assault charges.
Now, any physical attack committed against EMS personnel, no matter what the intent, is a felony.
State Sen. Marty Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-Southwest Brooklyn), chairman of the Civil Service and Pensions Committee, sponsored the bill in the state Senate. Assemblymembers Robert Rodriguez (D-East Harlem) and Barbara Clark (D-Cambria Heights) sponsored the legislation in the Assembly.
“Emergency medical service paramedics and technicians are required to treat patients under extremely dangerous and stressful conditions, and deliberate, violent attacks against these public servants are, sadly, not uncommon. Therefore, EMS paramedics and technicians should be offered every protection under the law,” Golden said in a statement.
“We must do everything in our power to protect those who are there for us in times of need,” Golden added.
The website www.emsworld.com reported that the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians found that four out of five medics across the country have experienced some form of injury on the job. Fifty-two percent claimed to have been assaulted while on duty.
The Uniformed EMS Officers Union has posted a thank you to Cuomo and Golden on its website, www.uemso.com.
“The members of EMS express our gratitude and appreciation to all the members of the New York State Senate, members of the New York State Assembly, especially the sponsor of our bill, Martin Golden,” the message reads.