First responders in the waters off Long Beach have a new boat dock to more quickly move patients to the city’s emergency department.
The $59,000 project, opened Thursday, includes an emergency access ramp and floating dock for patients coming from Reynolds Channel on the city’s north shore. It provides water access to emergency services for the first time since superstorm Sandy flooded and closed the city’s old Medical Center.
“The new floating dock will help reduce response and transport time during marine rescues,” Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony Santino said during a news conference Thursday. “Quicker transports to the emergency room could spell the difference between life and death.”
South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside opened the emergency department a year ago, equipped to take 911 emergency call patients, at the site of the old Long Beach Medical center.
The dock is only to be used for boating emergencies to get patients to the emergency department or to be transported to South Nassau in Oceanside.
In emergencies, time is critical,” South Nassau president Richard Murphy said in a statement. “The new dock will allow us to see patients more quickly and provide an important new point of water access for the Long Beach Emergency Department.”
Hempstead officials installed the dock to give first responders the quickest access to medical care for boaters and others in need of urgent care on the water. It will be used by Hempstead Town bay constables, Nassau County police marine officers, Long Beach police marine officers and local fire departments with marine rescue units, officials said.
“Restoring dock access for our emergency personnel is another important step forward in rebuilding our barrier island medical services,” Long Beach City Manager Jack Schnirman said. “If there’s an accident on the water. We can get people out quicker and get people to the hospital quicker. It’s another component to our emergency services and the eight paramedics we added last year.”
South Nassau installed lighting and an intercom system at the dock for communications between the emergency department and first responders. Medical staff is also undergoing training on transferring patients on the dock from emergency vessels.
The emergency department was expanded as part of a plan to open a $40 million medical arts center in Long Beach. South Nassau is using the remaining $130 million in federal emergency funds to expand and improve the Oceanside hospital, which officials say will serve Long Beach residents.
Hospital officials say Long Beach has the only free-standing emergency department on Long Island and has treated 10,000 patients in the past year. About 88 percent of those patients were treated and released on site and only about 10 percents had to be transported to Oceanside. There were no projections on how many patients may be treated coming from the bay dock.