BROOKLYN - The fire department has decided to eliminate EMS patrols on city beaches this summer, and Brooklyn residents are not happy about the decision.
City beaches are expected to draw crowds from all over the world this summer, and residents are concerned that the lack of EMS personnel will pose dangers for beach visitors. In the past, EMS personnel drove around the beach in vehicles known as Gators, responding to emergencies.
According to Tom Eppinger, the president of the EMS Officers Union, this year ambulances will respond to beach emergencies instead of Gators. He says the fire department is taking a huge risk by eliminating the presence of Gators, because the extra time it will take for an ambulance to respond to an emergency could be the difference between life and death.
?Now the ambulance has to respond, find where [the emergency] is, walk through the crowds, walk on the beach,? Eppinger says. ?We have the difference between a minute and a minute to 20 minutes ? if an ambulance is available.?
A fire department spokesperson released a statement defending the department?s decision, saying, ?there is a low call volume on the beaches, and it does not warrant a dedicated unit there.?