In advance of the busy Memorial Day weekend and the unofficial kick-off of summer as millions of New Yorkers head outdoors to our state parks, the New York State Legislature has given final passage to a new bi-partisan law sponsored by Senator Jim Tedisco (R,C-Glenville) and Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara (D,C-Rotterdam) to help save lives by enabling forest and state park rangers to carry EpiPens to treat people with severe allergic reactions in an emergency.
Epinephrine injectors, also known as “EpiPens,” are used to reverse the effects of severe allergic reactions or anaphylaxis from bee stings, drug reactions, food allergies or exercise-induced shock.
The legislation passed by Senator Tedisco and Assemblyman Santabarbara, S.4375/A.4652, authorizes forest rangers, park rangers and environmental conservation police officers to possess and administer EpiPens. This measure provides clarity in the law for nearly 700 professionals including park rangers and park police who patrol and work in over 18.6 million acres of New York State forested lands.
The list of authorized individuals under New York State law who can administer an EpiPen includes EMTs, children’s overnight camp and summer day camp employees, staff at public and private schools, as well as employees who work at sports and entertainment venues, amusement parks, restaurants, youth organizations and sports leagues, daycare facilities and retail establishments. Law enforcement and firefighters were added into the law in 2019 thanks to legislation sponsored by Senator Tedisco and co-sponsored in the State Assembly by Assemblyman Santabarbara.
“This common sense, bi-partisan new law I have passed with Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara will ensure that New York State’s 700 dedicated park rangers, forest rangers and environmental conservation police have the ability, if they choose, to carry EpiPens while on patrol so we can help save lives. Summer is now upon us and after the overwhelming isolation New Yorkers have experienced during this pandemic, it’ll be the ‘Roaring 20s’ as they’ll literally and figuratively be ‘itching’ to get out and visit our state parks and recreate. Hikers, campers, swimmers, hunters, and picnickers will be out in force. They’ll be bites and allergic reactions. That’s why we need our park rangers, forest rangers and environmental conservation police officers to be able to carry life-saving EpiPens to help respond to a severe allergic reaction. I want to thank Assemblyman Santabarbara, and all my legislative colleagues who voted for this bill, and I want to give special thanks to Senator Robert Jackson for his strong advocacy and support in helping to move this important public safety measure forward in the Senate,” said Senator Jim Tedisco.
“Our state parks and trails have seen a record number of visitors this past year, and this trend will surely continue as we head into the warmest months of the year,” Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara said. “That’s why it’s crucial we do everything we can to keep our families, friends and neighbors safe while they are our in our state parks. Whether it’s an insect bite or a food allergy, every second counts when it comes to these medical emergencies. By expanding access to this essential medication our environmental officers and park rangers can be prepared to provide this lifesaving intervention.”
“As a Pediatrician and a Mom of a food allergy child, this bill that my Dad Robert Jackson is supporting to allow Park Rangers/Forest Rangers to carry and administer Epi auto-injectors, AKA Epipens, is a no-brainer. Giving an Epi shot reduces hospitalizations, morbidity, mortality and most importantly is time-sensitive. Having Epi auto-injectors in the field will add to the safety and security that the Park Rangers provide. My Dad and I support this bill," said Dr. Saadiya Jackson-Owens.
The measure will be sent to the Governor for his review.