North Shore’s backup service
To the Editor:
The article “North Shore to provide backup ambulance services” (Nov. 22-28) prompted me, as a former chief of the Rockville Centre Fire Department and the current captain of the department’s Floodlight Rescue Co. #1, to field numerous questions and concerns from residents as well as department members about what this really means.
First, our residents should know that Floodlight is, and will continue to be, the primary ambulance provider for our neighbors. That hasn’t changed. But because your reporter didn’t talk to me, or to any active members of Floodlight, the article failed to make this clear and omitted other important facts our residents should know about the new arrangement.
In this, our 70th anniversary, Floodlight has 16 advanced life-support technicians and 13 basic life-support technicians supplemented by more than a dozen “techs” from other companies. Our members take enormous pride in the care we provide, spending hundreds of hours training each year to ensure that patient care remains our top priority. We operate two advanced life-support ambulances as well as a heavy-duty rescue truck.
Last year Floodlight volunteers responded to between 1,500 and 2,000 ambulance calls, motor vehicle accidents and fires, at no charge to our residents. That’s not the case with the new arrangement: As stated in the article, North Shore will be billing residents.
North Shore will now assist us when our two ambulances are on assignment or in the increasingly rare event that we have more calls at one time than ambulances or members available. But there was no reason to replace the more cost-effective backup provided by the Nassau County Ambulance Bureau, a system that had worked extremely well for years.
The men and women of Floodlight will continue to be there for our neighbors, but an issue of such importance to the health and welfare of our community deserves a far more thorough discussion than provided in the article or what can be covered in a letter to the editor.
Captain, Floodlight Company #1