Comfort trappings speck the aqua and orange-tinged halls and rooms of the Nassau County Firefighters Burn Center, livening the sterile state-of-the-art beds, tools, equipment that define this unit since its renovation two years ago.
The Burn Center, in its third location on the Nassau University Medical Center campus in East Meadow, has treated all ages of people with all ranges of burns for more than 60 years. It was on call during the Avianca plane crash in Cove Neck that killed 73 in 1990, and it awaited patients following the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks in 2001.
The NUMC bore the brunt of the $7 million makeover of the Burn Center on the west wing of its Dynamic Care Building’s sixth floor. But the Nassau County Firefighters Burn Center Foundation — a coalition of fundraising firefighters and rescue workers — furnished the cozy touches: the flat-screen TVs and DVD players, the framed acrylic scenes of spring landscapes that hang in the halls, the collection of fire department badges near the entrance. The contributions strengthen a relationship that has fostered from the foundation’s beginning twenty years ago.
“It’s everything we’ve dreamed of since our existence,” said Paul Napoli, a former Oceanside Fire Department chief who co-founded the foundation in 1990. “The Burn Center was always a good center, we just wanted to make sure it was the best burn center — and now I think we fall into that category.”
Napoli and a group of firefighters co-founded the organization in 1990 to act as a fundraising funnel to the NUMC unit and promote awareness of burn prevention and fire safety.
“Their support is phenomenal,” said Amy Pakes, the burn unit’s head nurse. “It’s educational, financial. They provide us with training, equipment.”
“As you know, burns are very near and dear to firefighters,” said Napoli. “We see a lot of them.”