Published April 11, 2024, 7:35 p.m. ET

By Haley Brown

FDNY Emergency Medical Services workers will have access to body armor and special training as part of legislation passed Thursday by the City Council to address an increase in attacks on first responders.

The pair of bills, authored by Minority Leader Joseph Borelli, would require the FDNY to provide EMTs and paramedics with bullet- and stab-proof armored vests along with self-defense and de-escalation training.

Mayor Eric Adams must still sign the bills, which had stalled in committee last year.

EMS personnel assist a man found in cardiac arrest on the sidewalk.
The body armor would be worn by on duty EMS workers like the men and women pictured here assisting a man found in cardiac arrest on a New York City sidewalk. William Farrington

“In the four or five years since these bills have been kicked around, attacks on EMTs have gone up double in that short amount of time,” Borelli said during a city council hearing on Thursday. “They’ve gone up twenty times in the two decades or so since it was first kept track of.”

In 2022 alone, the city’s EMTs and paramedics were attacked or threatened 363 times, a staggering 2,230% jump from the 15 attacks reported in 2011, according to records.

An EMS union head told The Post in February that the increased danger is causing “extremely low” morale among first responders.

“Our members are continuously under attack but our call volume is reaching record highs,” said Oren Barzilay, president of the Local 2507 of District Council 37, which represents the city’s 4,100 EMTs and paramedics.

Borrelli said de-escalation training, which will be tailored to “the types of encounters that (EMS) respond to,” might have prevented the death of veteran FDNY Lt. Alison Russo-Elling who was stabbed to death by a madman outside her stationhouse in September 2022.

Photo of NY Post cover from Sept. 30 2022.
FDNY Lt. and EMT Alison Russo-Elling was stabbed to death while on duty in Sept. 2022. serinc

“These folks don’t have a choice whether they can respond to incidents or not. We expect them to go wherever the danger is. Oftentimes, when there are incidents involving police they don’t know who the bad guys are or who the good guys are. They just have to respond to the scene and do the best they can,” Borelli told reporters Thursday. 

Borelli said the training also could have prevented the death of mom of five and EMT Yadira Arroyo who was run over with her own ambulance in 2017 in the Bronx when a man who had been joyriding on the bumper commandeered the vehicle. 

A memorial set up at EMS station 26 for NYFD EMT Yadira Arroyo.
Borelli said deescalation training could prevent deaths like EMT Yadira Arroyo, who was killed when Jose Gonzalez stole her ambulance and ran her over.