A bill that would allow state forest and park rangers in New York to carry and administer EpiPens will head to Gov. Andrew Cuomo's desk after it was given final approval on Wednesday by state lawmakers.
The measure is a bipartisan proposal backed by Democratic Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara and Republican Sen. Jim Tedisco and adds forest rangers, park rangers and environmental conservation police officers to the list of people who can carry and use EpiPens and treat allergic reactions in New York.
“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,” Santabarbara said in a statement. “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.”
The move would affect nearly 700 workers who would fall under this description. They work and patrol 18.6 million acres of state forest land.
Currently, EMTs, children’s overnight camp and summer day camp employees, staff at public and private schools, along with workers at sports and entertainment venues, amusement parks and restaurants can carry EpiPens. Restaurant, youth organizations, sports leagues and day care facility workers may also carry the devices.
The bill also comes as more people are expected to flock to public gathering spaces this summer as pandemic-related restrictions are loosened and more vaccines are distributed.
“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," Tedisco said in a statement. "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."