FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM MAY 7, 2020 • THE QUEENS COURIER 21
oped letters & comments
MUST NOT BE
Th e image of a police offi cer
roughly handling a person who
apparently was not socially distancing
correctly in New York
City was very upsetting to see.
It is bad enough that people
have been locked down in their
homes since early March. While it
was necessary to do in the beginning
of the pandemic to help off -
set the spread of the virus, now it
has become very upsetting and
aggravating to many people.
People want to be able to get out
and enjoy the warmer weather.
While the mayor has ordered
the NYPD to enforce social distancing
rules, there is absolutely
no justifi able reason for any police
offi cer to use such rough force on
a person. While most of our dedicated
police offi cers do not fall in
that category, if there are offi cers
who feel that they must use physical
force to enforce social distancing,
they had darn well better proceed
with the utmost caution, and
should attempt to ask people to
move along calmly and peacefully.
We have constitutional rights
in our great country, and those
rights should not and must not be
unjustly trampled upon by our
John Amato, Fresh Meadows
National Nurses Week started
on May 6 and ends on May 12 and
it raises awareness of the important
role nurses play in our country
today. As a point of interest,
May 12 is the birthday of Florence
Now I know fi rst hand what
nurses do. I am 70 years old
and fi ve years ago I came down
with an aggressive prostate cancer
and had four operations connected
with that disease. I had
all of those operations at North
Shore Hospital in Manhasset and
was cared for by caring and fully
trained nurses who always greeted
me with a smile.
Our nurses today are having a
hard time due to the COVID-19
pandemic, yet they are still risking
their lives to treat patients.
I applaud nurses around the
country who are truly dedicated
and caring for all their patients
who need their help with this
most insidious disease.
Th ere can never be enough
praise for all that they do. Th ank
Frederick R. Bedell Jr.,
Glen Oaks Village
MTA SHOULD HAVE
Glad to hear that “Cuomo adds
pressure to MTA’s cleaning eff ort
calling for trains to be scrubbed
daily” (Mark Hallum — April 30).
I suggested this weeks ago.
Everyone has known for
decades that the subway, bus,
commuter rail and ferries are a
petri dish for catching a cold, the
fl u or other communicable diseases.
Th e rise of a growing homeless
population, who ride our subways
and live at stations, has made matters
worse. Th ey clearly have little
ability to maintain personal
Th e previous announcement
by MTA Chairman Pat Foye in
response to the threat of the coronavirus
growing was disappointing.
His commitment to have
transit workers deep clean the
entire system using an “enhanced
daily cleaning procedure,” or
scrub strategy, including bleach
and hospital-grade disinfectant
should have been the norm for
Th e same is true for sanitizing
“commonly touched surfaces” at
stations, including turnstiles, exit
gates, platform fl oors, bathrooms,
MetroCard vending machines
and benches on a daily basis.
Deep cleaning subway cars once
every 72 hours during this crisis
was always insuffi cient. Between
homeless on board and rush hour
standing-room-only crowds, they
need to be thoroughly cleaned on
a 24-hour basis. Th e odds increase
for spreading a communicable
disease when you are trapped on
a crowded bus or subway for long
periods of time.
Millions of New Yorkers ride
the subway, bus or commuter rail.
Th ey should not have to wait once
every three days for a complete
cleaning of vehicles.
It should not have taken the
potential spread of the coronavirus
for the MTA to properly clean
equipment and stations. Safety
and security of the riding public
should always be the number
Larry Penner, Great Neck
New York City’s EMS workers
need more than nightly applause
BY WALTER S. ADLER
Over 14,000 New Yorkers have died so far during the COVID-
19 pandemic. A lot of bravery, heroism and inter-agency cooperation
has ensued for the worst four weeks of the pandemic. Th e
virus is here and will be for some time. My EMS brothers and sisters
will continue to help hold the front lines.
But when the coughing stops and the fevers cool, will the inequities
be addressed? EMS workers need profession-wide protections.
We need to be compensated in parity with policemen and
with fi refi ghters. We need leadership to bring the disparate sectors
of the fi eld together in common purpose to advocate for
political action to resuscitate this fi eld. For decades we have been
there at critical moments of loss and terror, laying down our lives
for our patients and their families.
NYC EMS workers have been both separate and unequal to all
other city service workers for years in terms of wages, benefi ts
and working conditions. Another challenge is the awkward segregation
of the workforce into distinctive sectors with competing
leadership. NYC’s 13,000 EMS workers are divided into four distinct
deployment models with diff erent funding channels, varying
benefi ts, uniform colors, vehicle colors, conditions and levels
of prestige — FDNY 911 Municipal, Voluntary Hospital 911,
Private Interfacility Transport and Community Volunteers.
Compared to fi refi ghters and policemen, EMS is highly revenue
generating. While “saving lives,” EMS is also a multimillion
dollar industry. Every billable ambulance ride brings the
city, private ambulance companies or hospitals between $500
While providing signifi cant revenue, the disparity in starting
EMS salaries as compared with Fire Suppression and the NYPD
is signifi cantly lower. Th e starting NYPD salary is $42,500, and
within 5 ½ years raises to $85,292 with the possibility for additional
income from overtime. FDNY fi refi ghters begin at $43,904
and, aft er 5 ½ years with fringe pay, make $110,293.
Entry pay for an FDNY EMT is $35,000 and, aft er fi ve years,
is capped at $50,000 or around $16.50/hour. New hire transport
EMTs begin at the minimum wage — $15.00 per hour only
recently up from $10.20 per hour — and go up around $1 a year.
Voluntary Hospital (non-public hospitals) EMTs start at $20 per
hour and go up $1 a year. When 14-year FDNY EMT Veteran
Yadira Arroyo was murdered by a crazed attacker — run over by
her own ambulance — she was raising fi ve children on $48,142.
Entry-level FDNY Paramedics make $48,287 and aft er fi ve
years the base cap is $65,226. An entry Voluntary Hospital
Paramedic makes between $23 to $38/hr job, with less security
and benefi ts, except in more exclusive, higher-income neighborhood
hospital garages like those serviced by New York
Presbyterian, Northwell or Mt. Sinai. An entry-level private
transport paramedic makes $23 to $25 per hour with no job
security or benefi ts at all.
EMS workers are the frontline troops in medical and public
health emergencies that are dangerous, uncontrolled and always
unpredictable — where reinforcements do not always arrive or
are not available, where ambulances fl ip, patients assault and a
FDNY EMS manages around 66 percent of the daily 911 call
volume. Voluntary Hospital EMS manages over 33 percent of
NYC citywide total call volume. Th is averages about 4,000 calls
a day, 1.5 million a year. Th e combined response of Private
Companies and Community Volunteers accounts for a comparable
number of non-emergent, Interfacility or emergency handled
outside the 911 dispatch.
We do a lot for this city. We take great risks and we do save
and prolong lives. We need proper masks. We need proper
wages. We need proper unity.
With one united voice, one Political Action Committee of
many small EMS unions, one lobby we must fi nally demand a
parity whose time has come.
Paramedic Walter S. Adler is a 16-year veteran of the Emergency
Medical Services and a native New Yorker. He served the FDNY
EMS for four years and has served overseas in Israel, Palestine,
Egypt, Haiti, Iraq and Syria. He is currently a 911 Paramedic
with Montefi ore EMS and BronxCare EMS in the Bronx.
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