In advance of the busy Independence Day weekend, as millions of New Yorkers head outdoors to campgrounds and our state parks, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has signed into law legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara and Senator Jim Tedisco to help save lives by enabling forest and state park rangers to carry EpiPens that 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 new law passed by Assemblyman Santabarbara and Senator Tedisco, (Ch. 194 of 2021), 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 already includes EMTs, employees at children’s overnight camp and summer day camp, public and private schools, sports and entertainment venue employees, 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 supported by Assemblyman Santabarbara and Senator Tedisco.
“Summer is upon us and it’s a great time to take advantage of all the wonderful parks and trails our state has to offer,” Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara said. “While the great outdoors offers endless sources of exploration and adventure, it’s important to stay safe. An unexpected allergic reaction to food, bug bites and stings can happen and people out on the trail may need a life-saving intervention. Ensuring our environmental professionals are authorized to carry and use EpiPens will save lives.”
“Independence Day weekend and the summer season is now upon us and after the overwhelming isolation New Yorkers have experienced during this pandemic, they are literally and figuratively ‘itching’ to get out and visit our campgrounds and state parks to recreate. Hikers, campers, swimmers, hunters, and picnickers are out in force. Unfortunately, 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,” said Senator Jim Tedisco. “I want to thank Governor Cuomo for signing this common sense, bi-partisan new law that I was proud to sponsor that 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.”