Should EMT’s and paramedic’s pay be equal to firefighters? Absolutely. In the city of New York the EMT and fire department often respond to the same calls, although the EMT and paramedic’s are responding to more calls then the fire department. Almost ten thousand dollars in difference in their average salary. When an EMT responds to an incident they have to prepare themselves for just about anything to happen. Not only do they have to prepare themselves on what to do for the victims when they arrive on the scene but they also have to be aware of their surroundings.
The chief of EMT’s at the time in New York stated that assaults on EMT’s and paramedics increased by almost fifty percent from the year 2015 to 2018. Only aware of the information about the victims, the information is unknown upon arrival. Not many people know that when an EMT responds to a drug overdose, the patients who are sometimes confused or aggravated tend to use an act of violent after being revived with the anti-overdose (narcan). This breaks the victims high which tends to become aggravated and hostile. Often times a victim will strike the EMT’s being unaware of the situation. With first hand experience as a volunteer firefighter, I experienced an incident where we walked into a house and there was a guy on the ground with a needle in his arm. When the anti-overdose was in effect the victim woke up they assaulted the EMT and told us to get out of his house. In 2012 an EMT’s responded to give assistance to a victim when they had no choice but to peel off when they began to be shot at. Although they aren’t the people who are rushing into a blazing hot building to rescue someone, they are still on scene to take care of any victims or firefighters with any sorts of injuries. In 2018 more than eighty percent of the 1.7 million incidents to which the department responded were medical, according to department officials.
The base salary for an EMT is significantly lower than a Firefighter. After five years of being in the service a firefighter tends to make over 85,000 dollars where after five years of work as an EMT they only make 65,000 dollars a year. Although the pay is still decent and you can still live off of that, an EMT deserves higher pay. Another disadvantage that an EMT has over a firefighter is that a firefighter has unlimited paid sick days, where an EMT who is constantly exposed to sick patients on receive 12 paid sick days. This is going to draw people away from just becoming an EMT because they have very little advantages over becoming a fire fighter pr not being worth it at all. Paid EMT’s may no longer want to work because they aren’t making enough to support their needs, so some staff may no longer want to work as an EMT anymore. Another option is to be EMT/Firefighter in specific locations that run both EMT and fire calls. This isn’t as easy for a EMT to get their certifications for firefighting as it is firefighters to get their EMT certification.
The pay differential seems like a minor detail after the anecdotes about on-the-job violence, but I respect the importance of the topic and think you handled it competently. MUCH more persuasive than your unsubstantiated claim that “Paid EMT’s may no longer want to work because they aren’t making enough to support their needs,” would have been some real statistics about the number of unfilled vacancies on the crew, or the time they remain vacant before being filled, or the quick turnaround, or . . . you get my point. Your Editorial ends weakly with an offhand recommendation about dual certification instead of a Rhetorical Flourish about how much we owe to the people who respond when we need help most.