ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation Friday allowing police officers and firefighters to carry EpiPens to treat people with severe reactions in an emergency.
Senator Jim Tedisco (R-Glenville), who introduced and authored the legislation in partnership with Saratoga County Sheriff Zurlo last year, made the announcement Friday morning.
EpiPens are used to reverse the effects of severe allergic reactions from bee stings, drug reactions, food allergies, and other medical issues.
Prior to the new legislation, law enforcement and firefighters were not allowed to carry the often life-saving instruments. Tedisco points out that the list of other workers who are permitted to carry EpiPens, including camp counselors, EMTs, school staff, and daycare workers, is extensive.
Mike McEvoy, EMS Coordinator for Saratoga County says this will give all first responders an opportunity for earlier intervention when they encounter someone having an allergic reaction.
“Most people who die from an allergic reaction, die before they get to the hospital,” McEvoy told News10, “so the first responders, the people who get there immediately, have an opportunity to do something to prevent a person from dying.”
The newly signed, bi-partisan legislation closes the loophole and allows law enforcement officers to carry and administer EpiPens. Police officers in New York City are not included.
“When emergencies happen, seconds count,” said Senator Tedisco. “Our police officers and firefighters are often the first on the scene when someone dials 911 due to a life-threatening allergic reaction, so it makes imminent sense to enable our highly-trained members of law enforcement and firefighters the ability to carry EpiPens and help save lives.”
The legislation does not include funding. It is at the discretion of individual agencies to decide whether to equip their officers or firefighters with EpiPens, and to budget for the injections.