NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Hundreds of Emergency Medical Services personnel could lose their jobs if the city doesn’t get some help.

It’s part of looming budget cuts.

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And as CBS2’s Aundrea Cline-Thomas reported Thursday, first responders are warning about the consequences.

EMTs and paramedics say they are already working with a bare bones staff, and enduring cuts would only lead to longer response times.

The city says it needs help addressing a $1 billion shortfall.

“Lives will literally be lost over this decision,” Michael Greco, president of Local 2507, said. “They don’t want to have a heart attack and wait 20 minutes because that means they’re going to die.”


That dire warning from the head of the EMS workers union came in response to Mayor Bill de Blasio‘s own warning, that across-the-board budget cuts are possible.

It means 400 EMTs, paramedics and fire inspectors with the FDNY could lose their jobs.

“How do you call us heroes in one breath, 7 o’clock you’re clapping for us, ready to throw us a parade, but instead of a ticker tape parade we’re getting a pink-slip parade. It’s disgusting,” Greco said.

The city is hemorrhaging money as it continues to respond to the health and economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

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“I don’t want to see this happen,” de Blasio said. “I have told all New Yorkers that we are getting to a point where we’re starting to run out of options.”

The mayor is hoping for a Hail Mary in the form of an infusion of cash from the federal government or permission from state lawmakers to take out a loan.

“Federal stimulus could save the day here. We should keep fighting for it. The state could do so much to give us the borrowing authority. Long-term borrowing would solve this instantly,” de Blasio said.

But if nothing happens, 22,000 city jobs will likely be cut on Oct. 1.

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Union leaders had the following message for the mayor:

“Stop playing games with the federal government and using us as chess pieces. This is a game off chicken and you’re playing with first responders’ lives,” Greco said.

The union is suggesting offering buyouts to employees who are nearing retirement to help save some money.

The mayor said the city will consider solutions, but warns time is running out.

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