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City Council Okays Body Armor for FDNY Emergency Workers

The city needs to provide more protection to emergency workers to improve retention rates, the council said.
FDNY Ambulance.

The New York City Council voted on two bills on Thursday that require the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) to provide body armor, as well as de-escalation and self-defense training, to its Emergency Medical Services (EMS) employees.

During Fiscal Year 2023, EMS responded to 30,306 incidents, which are considered life-threatening medical emergencies, according to a news release.

The emergency workers, however, also respond to a variety of non-life-threatening conditions, which, combined with the emergencies, have led to emotional stress and trauma, threatened and actual assaults, and relatively low financial compensation. 

Partially due to these employment-related experiences, EMS employee attrition rates have consistently remained high, the release said. 

“The Council is proud to pass safety measures that will better protect and support our frontline emergency medical services workers, who save lives and courageously serve our city,” said City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams. “Our essential workers deserve to be safe while performing life-saving duties, and these new laws will help reduce the health and safety risks they experience.

The bills would need approval from the mayor before it becomes law.