The president of New York City’s EMT’s, paramedics and fire inspectors has a message to city officials during the COVID-19 pandemic: EMT casualties are line-of-duty deaths.
Oren Barzilay, president of FDNY EMS Local 2507, had that to say in an opinion piece published Monday in the New York Daily News.
Barzilay noted more than 1,000 of his members have contracted the virus or are being monitored for it. Five have died.
“The FDNY clearly recognizes and acknowledges the dangers the members of EMS are exposed to,” he wrote. “Yet the silence from City Hall is deafening.”
“We have asked that COVID-19 deaths be classified as Line of Duty fatalities, affording families both the recognition and benefits they deserve, and we have been told that request is stuck in the inbox of some bureaucrat in the city Law Department,” he continued.
Barzilay called on Mayor Bill de Blasio to stop hiding “behind attorneys, red tape and bureaucracy” and “acknowledge the ultimate sacrifice that each of these FDNY EMS members and other city employees have made.”
“It is your duty as mayor to respect these precious lives,” Barzilay wrote.