Just 133 of New York City’s 3,000 EMTs and paramedics—less than 4½%—have sufficient training to enter a contaminated area and treat patients in it, officials reported in April.
The crux of the problem, according to officials, is a lack of federal funds for training. Every employee currently gets awareness-level training; the fire department’s EMS union wants an extra eight hours for each, which would cost an estimated $1.4 million. The FDNY has proposed even more, an additional 64 hours, which would cost much more.
Legislation proposed by state assembly speaker Sheldon Silver would set federal money aside specifically to train New York’s EMS providers.