In 2023


Community Volunteers


FDNY EMTs, Paramedics, & EMS Officers


Voluntary Hospital EMS


Commercial EMS


Members of Service


Total Calls a Day


An Ambulance Bill


EMS Unions

NYC EMS workers have been both separate and unequal to all other city service workers for years in terms of wages, benefits, and working conditions. Another challenge is the awkward segregation of the workforce into distinctive sectors with competing leadership. NYC’s 15,500 EMS workers are divided into four distinct deployment models with different funding channels, varying benefits, uniform colors, vehicle colors, conditions, and levels of prestige–FDNY 911 Municipal, Voluntary Hospital 911, Private Inter-facility Transport, and Community Volunteers.

We need to be compensated in parity with police officers and with firefighters. We need leadership to bring the disparate sectors of the field together with a common purpose to advocate for political action to resuscitate this field. For decades we have been there at critical moments of loss and terror, laying down our lives for our patients and their families. 

EMS workers need profession-wide protections.

Compared to firefighters and policemen, EMS is highly revenue-generating. While “saving lives,” EMS is also a multi-million-dollar industry. Every billable ambulance ride brings the City, private ambulance companies, or hospitals between $500 – $4,000. That is why over a dozen private ambulance companies in this city compete for multi-million-dollar contracts. The biggest eight are Seniorcare, Citywide, Empress, Hunter, RCA, Midwood, Assist and Ambulunz.

While providing significant revenue, the disparity in starting EMS salaries as compared with Fire Suppression and the NYPD is significantly lower.  The starting NYPD salary is $42,500, and within 5 ½ years raises to $85,292 with the possibility for additional income from overtime. FDNY Firefighters begin at $43,904 and after 5 ½ years with fringe pay make $110,293. 

Entry level pay for an FDNY EMT is $39,386 – $47,016 (up from pre-pandemic $35,000) and is $59,534 after 5 years, and after 20 years it will go up to $76,472. Entry pay for the first 5 years (a period in which 70% of FDNY EMS quit) is between $16.50-$19 per hour. When 14-year FDNY EMT Veteran Yadira Arroyo was murdered by a crazed attacker–run over by her own ambulance-she was raising 5 children on $48,142.

New hire transport EMTs begin at the minimum wage–$17.00 per hour only recently up from $15.00 per hour– and goes up around $0.50-1.00 per year. Voluntary Hospital based EMTs start between at $22-$33 per hour and go up around $1 a year.

Entry-level FDNY Paramedics make $53,891 – $60,796 start (up from $48,287 pre-Pandemic) and $75,872 with 5 years on the job and $92,635 after 20 years.

Another way to think about this that after 20 years of service a Paramedic earns below what a firefighter makes after five years. And an EMT after five years earns about half of what a police officer makes in 5 1/2 years.

An level entry Voluntary Hospital Paramedic makes between $30-$42/hour job, with less security and benefits, 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 $28 to $30 per hour with no job security or benefits at all. 

EMS workers are the front-line 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 flip, crews are assaulted daily, and a virus lurks. 

Firefighters and police officers participate in some EMS operations, but often as auxiliary actors. Firefighters protect property. Police enforce the law. But by intent and volume, lifesaving is not the main objective of a firefighter or police officer. They are “the bravest” and “the finest” in fires and law enforcement. When it comes to lifesaving, we EMS workers are “the best”.

F.D.N.Y. EMS manages around 66% of the daily 911 call volume. Voluntary Hospital EMS manages over 33% of NYC citywide total call volume. This averages about 5,000 calls a day, 1.5 million a year. The combined response of Private Companies and Community Volunteers accounts for a comparable number of non-emergent, Interfacility, or emergencies handled outside the 911 dispatch bringing an estimated daily call volume in NYC to 8,000+ calls, or transactions billed between $1,200-$1,600 per ambulance ride and $22,000 to $100,000 per admission to an ED.

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. We need the EMS Unions to unite around public policy, advocacy, and member assistance. We need to remind people of the hypocrisy of dubbing a group “New York’s Best” but paying us retail wages. We need to call out the Fire, Police, Nursing, and Sanitation Unions to support us. We need to drive out crooked fake ghost unions and support those that actually represent and fight for us. Without joint action, we all are divided and powerless as a lobby. 

Formed of many EMS workers and diverse stakeholders across all sectors. With one unified mission we will achieve a parity whose time has long come.


“We therefore move to establish an effective, transparent and democratic mechanism to rapidly advance the conditions of all EMS workers.”

– EMSPAC Founding Meeting, May 17th, 2020, Bronx, New York