Fire Commissioner Nigro and Union Leaders Announce New Signs on All FDNY Ambulances Promoting Strong Penalties for Assaults Against EMS Personnel

June 14, 2018

Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro and union representatives today announced that all FDNY ambulances will now have signs prominently displayed in multiple locations promoting strong penalties for assaults against EMS personnel. The first ambulances to receive these new signs are assigned to Station 26 in the Bronx, where EMT Yadira Arroyo, a 14-year-veteran of the Department, was struck and killed in the line of duty on March 16, 2017 while attempting to stop the theft of her ambulance during an emergency response.

“These new images on our ambulances are visible reminders to all that FDNY EMTs and Paramedics perform dangerous, life-saving work every single day; and anyone who interferes with that work by assaulting our members faces a severe punishment,” said Commissioner Nigro. “The men and women of EMS work incredibly hard to care for all New Yorkers; they deserve our protection and respect.”

The text of the signs is as follows:

“FDNY EMTs and Paramedics Are Protected by NEW YORK STATE LAW.
Assault is a Felony Punishable by 7 years in prison.”

“The EMTs and Paramedics are out there to help the public in their time of crisis. Assaulting them while they perform their duties is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. They deserve to be protected by all means,” said Oren Barzilay, President Local 2507, Uniformed EMT’s, Paramedics, and Fire Inspectors. “We're thankful for the FDNY and Commissioner Nigro for taking a crucial step with protecting our members.”

“It is important that the general public be made aware that an assault on any uniformed Officer/EMT/Medic of the FDNY EMS command while in performance of their life saving duties will be punished to the fullest extent of the law,” said Vincent Variale, President Local 3621, Uniformed EMS Officers Union. “We are thankful for the department in being proactive and responding to our members concerns in regards to their well-being and safety.”

This year alone, there have been 87 instances of EMTs, Paramedics and EMS officers having been attacked while on-duty. In 2017, 166 assaults were reported.

The law strengthening penalties for assaults against EMS personnel was first introduced in 2015 by State Senator Martin J. Golden, the Chair of the New York Senate Civil Service and Pensions Committee, and was signed into law by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on November 20, 2015. The law took effect on February 18, 2016.