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Letter to the Oceanside/Island Park Editor

Posted

Fire Department Training Center will keep the village safe

To the Editor,

After the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, our community came together to help family, friends and neighbors. The Island Park Fire Department and other first responders navigated dangerous conditions to rescue individuals in need. They immediately answered the call to help and mobilized all their resources the moment the storm hit.

As a village, we are a family. We are resilient, and together, we thrive and move forward for the continued revitalization and renaissance of Island Park. After Sandy, the mandatory elevation of homes presented new challenges for first responders. We knew the need for continued and additional training was essential. The need for new emergency training for catastrophic disasters came to our village through a $263,000 grant from the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York.

I want to thank Deputy Mayor Joseph Annarella and Trustee Michael Gagliardi, both of whom are former Island Park fire chiefs, for their tremendous efforts in helping us secure this vital grant. Working in partnership with Trustees Barbara Volpe-Reid and Irene Naudus, the Island Park Fire Department Training Center is a shining testament of the importance of safety first in our community.

The Island Park Firefighter Training Center offers local firefighters training opportunities that coincide with rehabilitation and revitalization of housing stock, monolithic foundations and varying degrees of truss construction. Sprinkler systems, now in homes after Sandy, offer new challenges to volunteers and the facility will provide opportunities to enhance training efforts. “Bail out” training, used by firefighters to exit a burning structure safely and quickly, is also part of this three-story rescue operation, which will prepare firefighters for new challenges ahead.

The facility is three floors in height and complements the lifting of homes and the required height the homes were lifted to. As firefighters are trained, we envision the opportunity to train neighboring ones as well.

It is an honor for me as the mayor to stand side by side with our firefighters and first responders, as they are the true soul of our village. Who can forget the annual Island Park Fire Department’s “Santa Run,“ where our brave men and women take time away from their families and ascend upon Ladder 223 to put smiles on hundreds of children’s faces throughout our community. Santa departs from the North Pole at 5 p.m. every Christmas Eve and travels through our village sharing holiday joy and cheer. Every year, our Fire Department hosts Fire Prevention Week, which is an open house that offers safety tips.

The training center is a testament to our heroes, as well as our residents. It will replicate most fire ground situations encountered by firefighters during responses. This latest technology and training will ensure the proficiency of our firefighters that will protect our residents. The anticipated completion and grand opening will be in August, at 500 North Nassau Lane. Our village continues to meet every demand and every challenge. Together, we are strong, safe and united. I take this opportunity to thank our bravest and best, and wish everyone a happy, healthy and safe summer.

Michael McGinty

Mayor, Island Park