It takes planning, preparation, and proficiency to brave the seas, but even the most adept sailor can be faced with emergencies on the water. Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony J. Santino and Councilman Anthony D’Esposito have just overseen the completion of a new floating dock at the South Nassau Emergency Department in Long Beach to facilitate marine rescues and other emergency responses on the bay, replacing the previous structure that was destroyed in Hurricane Sandy. The new dock, mooring piles, pier and railings comprise a well-engineered system that will allow boating accident victims to be transported directly to the emergency room by water, saving precious time. Joining Santino and D’Esposito at a pre-Labor Day ribbon cutting was Richard J. Murphy, President & CEO of South Nassau Communities Hospital.
“With Labor Day weekend fast approaching, the town takes comfort in knowing our residents will be safer while out on the water,” said Supervisor Santino. “The new floating dock will help reduce response and transport time during marine rescues. Quicker transports to the emergency room could spell the difference between life and death.”
“In emergencies, time is critical,” agreed Richard J. Murphy, South Nassau’s President & CEO. “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. We are grateful to Supervisor Santino and the Town of Hempstead for sticking with this project and seeing it through to completion.”
The project was undertaken by the Town of Hempstead, which designed, built, and installed the emergency access ramp in a quest to keep those on town waters safe and to provide the quickest possible access to emergency medical care to boaters and other people who need assistance on local waterways.
The dock and ramp will be utilized by the Town of Hempstead Bay Constables, Nassau County Police Department’s Marine Bureau, the Long Beach Police Department’s Marine Bureau and local fire departments that have marine rescue units. A mock patient transfer was performed by the Town of Hempstead Bay Constables along with personnel from South Nassau Emergency Department, to showcase the efficiency of the ramp when transporting victims of boating accidents.
The new structure features two new floating dock sections, where the emergency rescue boats from the various jurisdictions can tie up. Additionally, the boat rescue access dock includes an aluminum ramp with hand rails, an elevated platform, and four pilings. South Nassau also has installed lighting and an intercom system to facilitate communication between Emergency Department staff and first responders. South Nassau staff also is undergoing training on dock transfers of patients to ensure safety of patients and personnel.
The new marine structure is more weather resistant and will stand strong for many years to come. The town used in-house labor from the department of Conservation and Waterways to perform the installation. All of the equipment used is commercial grade, and was delivered via a town tug and push boat. Construction of the structure was completed within a week. The total cost of the project was $58,992.
“Having an emergency dock at the Long Beach Emergency Department is another precaution that ensures the safety of our residents on the water,” added D’Esposito.
Boating is not restricted to the summer, and neither are accidents. The new floating dock will be available year-round and is durable enough to persevere even through the toughest of seasons.
In 2015, the U.S. Coast Guard counted 4,158 nationwide accidents that involved 626 deaths and 2,163 injuries as a result of recreational boating accidents. Town and hospital officials have stated that it is their united goal to reduce boating fatalities by making the new boat ramp available to facilitate quicker marine rescues and emergency water transports.
In its first 12 months of operation, South Nassau’s free-standing Emergency Department in Long Beach received 9,878 patients, 88 percent of whom were treated and released without having to be transferred to the main hospital in Oceanside. The Long Beach Emergency Department can receive ambulances via the 9-1-1 system. Only 8.5 percent of the Long Beach patients had to be transported and admitted to Oceanside.
“During this Labor Day Weekend, we want boaters to be safe,” concluded Santino. “At the same time, I am pleased that this new boat ramp is now available for emergency service now and throughout the year.”