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South Shore emergency dock completed in Reynolds Channel

Boats congregate at a new dock for emergency

Boats congregate at a new dock for emergency responders in the Town of Hempstead and Long Beach to use. Credit: Howard Simmons

Long Beach and Hempstead Town officials have completed a new emergency dock that will allow firefighters and first responders to more quickly respond to emergencies in Reynolds Channel.

Town workers installed a 6-foot-by-88-foot pier this spring and a 3-foot-by-20-foot ramp, leading to a 10-foot-by-20-foot  float with four piles behind Long Beach Fire Station No. 2 at the end of Indiana Avenue off Park Avenue.

Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen said the new dock will reduce response times by at least 15 minutes by having boats, Jet Skis and emergency equipment readily in the water to respond to calls off the barrier island and to communities along the South Shore, including Lido Beach, Oceanside, Island Park and Freeport.

“The Long Beach Fire Department is always there for us so it's important to me that when they ask for something we get it done," Long Beach City Council Vice President Chumi Diamond said in a statement Sunday after the official opening of the dock. “This new dock will reduce response times for our first responders which will actually save lives."

Councilman Anthony D’Esposito said Long Beach Fire Chief Joe Miller in 2017 asked the town to assist the city’s conservation of waterways department in building a dock to keep boats readily available at the fire station.

Firefighters had to previously load boats on a trailer and drive to docks — two miles away from the firehouse — either at marinas or a floating dock at the former Long Beach Medical Center to launch boats into the water.

Long Beach officials paid for construction materials and scheduled construction with the town during three months over the winter. Officials did not say how much the project cost, but they said using town labor and equipment, including a town barge, crane and a pile driver, helped save Long Beach money.

“This was a great way for municipalities to get together and reduce costs,” Gillen said.

The new dock will give firefighters radio technology and fire department gear ready to be dispatched from the fire house to respond to boating or Jet Ski accidents and use the fire station as a central command, D’Esposito said.

“When it comes to responding to an emergency, it’s nice to have something built, and crews are capable of running to an emergency. It’s easier than to set up a mobile command post,” he said.

Long Beach workers were completing the final touches, including hand railings and decking.

City and town officials christened the dock Sunday while launching boats and Jet Skis into the water behind the fire station.

The dock will be available to Long Beach firefighters, Hempstead bay constables and other emergency responders along the South Shore, officials said.

“It will benefit not only Long Beach and the communities in the Town of Hempstead and any region that needs to respond in the water if any residents find themselves in distress,” Gillen said.

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