Tedisco, Santabarbara Call for New Legislation Needed to Enable State Park Rangers, Park Police to Carry EpiPens to Help Save Lives

James Tedisco

April 15, 2021

Tedisco and Santabarbara’s legislation adds park & forest rangers, environmental conservation police, who are first to respond to emergencies in our state parks, list of professionals who can treat people with life-threatening allergic reactions

Now that spring has finally arrived and New Yorkers are heading outside and visiting our state parks for recreation, Senator Jim Tedisco and Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara have introduced new bi-partisan legislation 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.

Tedisco and Santabarbara’s legislation, 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.

“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.  This common sense, bi-partisan legislation I have introduced with Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara provides clarity into the existing law and ensures 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,” said Senator Jim Tedisco. 

"Anyone who has ever experienced a severe allergic reaction knows that every second counts," said Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara. "With so many of our popular state parks out of reach from local health care facilities and with even more people hitting the trails with their family and friends, this bill is needed now more than ever to ensure that New Yorkers are protected from these life-threatening events."