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New dock to aid in Long Beach emergency response

Long Beach Fire Chief Richard Corbett speaks Monday,

Long Beach Fire Chief Richard Corbett speaks Monday, Feb. 5, 2018, in Long Beach during a news conference held with Hempstead Town Supervisor Laura Gillen. Credit: Howard Schnapp

The Hempstead Town Board voted on Tuesday to build a new dock in Reynolds Channel for the Long Beach Fire Department to respond to emergencies in the bay.

The town’s intermunicipal agreement with the City of Long Beach will construct a 70-foot pier, including a 20-foot-long float for docking a rescue boat or personal watercraft, to help firefighters increase response times for Long Beach firefighters and communities along the South Shore.

Long Beach firefighters keep their rescue boat on a trailer and have to back down a boat ramp every time they have to respond to a water rescue. The new dock would allow firefighters to dock their boat in the water, saving up to 10 to 15 minutes per water rescue call. The city responded to 46 water rescues last year, as well as mutual aid calls for other fire departments on the water.

“The Long Beach Fire Department stands ready to answer a call for help at any hour of the day,” Long Beach Fire Chief Joseph Miller said in a statement. “The dock will undoubtedly aid our department, the city and the surrounding communities in our ability to respond to rescues by saving previous, life altering minutes.”

The town board will provide town labor to build the dock through the Department of Conservation and Waterways. Long Beach officials will purchase and provide materials for the dock, and then schedule delivery and construction with the town. No cost of the dock was given. Town officials said labor would be done during regular working hours.

“This is a shining example of our communities working together to reduce costs and help save lives,” Supervisor Laura Gillen said. “By helping the City of Long Beach build this dock, we are not only saving money, but saving the lives of people irrespective of political and geographic boundaries.”

The dock will be built at the end of Fire Station No. 2 in Long Beach at the end of Indiana Avenue in the city’s west end. Officials said the fire department will be able to serve emergency calls in Atlantic Beach, Island Park, East Rockaway and Point Lookout.

“This project will have an immediate positive effect on our Police and Fire Departments’ ability to conduct water rescues,” Long Beach City Council Vice President Chumi R. Diamond said. “A new dock at the West End Firehouse will greatly improve maritime incident response times, especially during spring and summer when the waters around Long Beach are at their most crowded.”

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