Rockaways to get new emergency beach transportation

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ROCKAWAY BEACH (PIX11) – There was little question since Hurricane Sandy hit, beach access for paramedics and their ambulance was somewhat restricted this summer season.

It’s exactly why paramedics want a John Deere GATOR, a beach accessible vehicle, used in Coney Island for patient transport.

Instead, Rockaway paramedics would use what’s known as a SKED, a roll up pallet meant for mass casualty situations and hitch it to the axle of a Parks and Recreation ATV. That ATV, driven by a park employee, would then drag patients through the sand to get to an ambulance in the Rockaways. Concerns only grew when they learned the patient could also be taking in fumes during that ride.

“We carry CO meters and the CO meters at 35, they go ballistic. They go off.  It measured at 980 parts per million so now you’re not only dragging the patient through the sand, you’re blowing CO on them for a block or two before you even get them to an ambulance,” said Israel Miranda, Union President representing EMS and Paramedics.

After complaints, petitions, and with PIX11’s help, it seems there was a change of heart and the Rockaways will be getting exactly what it needs.

The FDNY said after a review of the procedure the SKED policy will not be used. Instead, the Fire Commissioner instructed  the Bureau of EMS to place one of the city’s GATORS in the Rockaways.

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