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How national media are covering EMS during the COVID-19 pandemic

The pivotal role of EMS in the fight against a global health crisis has put its providers in the national spotlight


Amidst the COVID-19 national emergency, EMS providers and other healthcare professionals have become the face of the nation’s battle against the global health crisis.

The vital role of EMTs, paramedics and all first responders in ensuring public safety during this unprecedented time has drawn mainstream media coverage in a way that is rarely seen, and has brought both the accomplishments and struggles of EMS providers and agencies under the public spotlight.

Here are a few examples of how national media have been covering EMS during the COVID-19 pandemic.

1. “Seeing sickness and death, paramedic fears the toll it takes” – Associated Press

The Associated Press’ interview with 28-year-old FDNY Paramedic Travis Kessel gives a brief snapshot into the emotional toll of responding to COVID-19 in New York City, where the virus has hospitalized more than 20,000 people and claimed more than 4,700 lives.

2. “New York’s Paramedics, on the Front Lines and Forgotten” – The New York Times

In an opinion piece, New York Times editorial board member Mara Gay highlights the staggering call volume and lack of resources FDNY EMS providers are facing, as well as the pay disparity between firefighters, paramedics and EMTs at the department. The editorial features interviews with New York City EMS providers and reflects on a previous interview with FDNY Paramedic Christell Cadet, 34, who is now on a ventilator and fighting for her life after being diagnosed with COVID-19.

3. “‘We Won’t Let HIm Die in Our Ambulance.’ A Day With a Paramedic Facing the Coronavirus Pandemic” – Time Magazine

Time Magazine featured Paramedic Alanna Badgley on its cover this month as part of its special report series “Heroes of the Front Lines.” The magazine documented a day in the life of Badgley, 28, of Empress Emergency Medical Services in Yonkers, N.Y., as she worked 11 calls over a 12-hour shift, nine of them suspected COVID-19 cases.

4. “First Responders Fear Being Left Behind in Coronavirus Relief” – U.S. News and World Report

The U.S. News and World Report tackled the funding problems worsening the pandemic’s impact on the nation’s EMS systems and workforce, speaking with NAEMT President Matt Zavadsky and IAFC President Gary Ludwig about the lack of federal aid needed to manage the crisis.

5. “Paramedics Pushed to the Limit on the Front Lines” – NBC Nightly News

NBC Nightly News featured the firsthand stories of EMS providers in its April 15 broadcast, through interviews and video statements from providers across the country.

6. “America’s Hourly Workers: The Frontline Hero” - Forbes

Forbes magazine featured Pro EMS Paramedic Thomas Wobby in its profile on essential hourly workers, published on March 12, 2021, just over a year into the pandemic. Wobby was deployed to New York City for two weeks in April 2020 and described working up to 21-hour shifts amidst the spike in COVID-19 cases.[0]=AZX53vychgYN4ootLsuf15knsXUp32gnGV-rP4aoQc3-9-EItiASyGLbjxIIIj0n4y2qtHduWYeQsdefb9YbLzvSHZRlyqRpVVFip7Fr_7C4t0P3P8iGQJfi7ZbPcPPuQtFIg0qfRYDHivd2K6IU5D0qtymQNYpjAW1yUVBC_VABjQ&__tn__=%2CO%2CP-R

Laura French is a former editorial assistant for FireRescue1 and EMS1, responsible for curating breaking news and other stories that impact first responders. In a prior role at Forensic Magazine, French was able to combine her interests in journalism, forensics and criminology. French has a bachelor’s degree in communications/journalism with a minor in criminology from Ramapo College in New Jersey.