La. considers hazard pay for EMS

Police and firefighters receive a monthly $500 stipend for the dangers of the jobs; a proposed bill would add EMS professionals to that list

NEW ORLEANS — Officials in New Orleans are pushing to give EMS professionals the same supplemental pay that firefighters and police officers receive for hazards they face as part of their jobs.

State Sen. J.P Morrell, (D-New Orleans), and New Orleans EMS Medical Dr. Jeffrey Elder say paramedics regularly rush to dangerous calls like the scene of a shooting, and often handle violent patients, Fox8 News reports. 

"We've had punches thrown toward our medics,” Elder said. “We've had people spit on our medics; we've had people spit with blood in their mouths at the medics.”

Police and firefighters receive a $500 stipend from the state, and it’s about time the Louisiana’s 600 public EMS workers were added to that list, Morrell said. It would apply to full-time municipal EMS workers who have been on the job for at least a year, and would cost the state an estimated $3.7 million annually.

"It is going to be an uphill battle, but I think it's long overdue,” Morrell said. “I think these men and women put themselves in harm's way all the time. They do very dangerous work, I think it's appropriate that they get some recognition for that."

The bill is in the Senate Finance Committee. If it passed into the House, it will go on the ballot in November, and voters will decide whether or not to fund the supplemental pay.

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