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    Fri, March 29, 2013  
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Emergency Medical Services from Then to Now

The Evolution of EMS in Lynbrook

By Ex-Captain Steve Grogan

In 1929, as a community service, Dr Brodigan, a Lynbrook physician, got together with Sol Cohen, a pharmacist at the Atlantic Pharmacy, and put a respirator owned by the doctor in a station wagon. Along with a few Lynbrook volunteer firefighters, they  traveled throughout the village to residents that requested some type of first aid.  Eventually, the Lynbrook Volunteer Fire Department took over the operation of the “Emergency Relief Squad,” or Rescue Squad as it was commonly known.  The Rescue Squad purchased its first vehicle, a canvas covered Mack ambulance, in 1937.

 After the purchase of the ambulance more volunteers from the five all-ready established fire companies in Lynbrook began spending additional time with the Rescue Squad beyond their firefighting duties.  The Lynbrook volunteers even traveled to New York City to receive advanced first-aid training from the New York City Police Department’s Emergency Services Unit.

In the late 1970’s the Emergency Medical Services, as we know it today, was born in California and spread eastward.  In the late 70’s and early 80’s, problems began affecting the Rescue Squad’s daily operations as new mandated rules and regulations from the New York State Department of Health went into affect.  Those new rules and regulations ordered that Rescue Squad members had to have formal State certified training to ride on an ambulance. The effect of the new rules causes an immediate and critical drop in the number of available and trained member to respond to medical emergencies in Lynbrook and throughout the state. Remember, they are ALL VOLUNTEERS.

           

1969 Cadillac Ambulance & 1970's Ford Rescue Truck

 To solve this problem, the Lynbrook Fire Department instituted a Firemedic program to attract new members to the Rescue Squad.  The By-Laws of the Lynbrook Fire Department at that time required that candidates for membership to the fire department had to join one of the five fire companies then in operation.  After a one year probationary period as a firefighter a member could then apply to also work with the Rescue Squad part-time.    

 The five fire companies then opened their vacant membership roles to residents who wanted to join the department, but not to fight fires, but to be medical technicians that would operate the department’s ambulances.   These new members, after formal medical and emergency training, would respond to all rescue and ambulance calls for the Lynbrook Fire Department.

 In 1990, the active Firemedic program for the Rescue Squad had grown to 18 New York State Certified Emergency Medical Technicians, Critical Care Technicians, and Paramedics.   The Firemedics then took the next step and voted to form their own company.

 On September 23, 1991, some 112 years after the first fire company was formed in Lynbrook, and 62 years after Dr Brodigan started responding to first aid calls in his station wagon, the Emergency Medical Company No. 1, the fire department’s sixth company, was born.  Their first elected captain was George “Buddy” Wilson, a former member of Engine Company No. 1.

 With the formation of the new Emergency Medical Company, the Rescue Squad no longer existed and all of its equipment was turned over to the new company to help them get started.  The new company, as in the past, borrowed space from Hose Company on Blake Avenue, and from Engine Company on Carpenter Avenue, where the two Rescue Squad ambulances had been garaged for years.  The new company then set up a storage area in Fire Headquarters on Wright Avenue to store their expanding medical equipment.

 The Medical Company then began the task of finding their own quarters..  They first rented a warehouse on Vincent Avenue, just North of Sunrise Highway, and began looking for property to buy.  One piece of property they found was a vacant lot on Forest Avenue on the corner of Randall Avenue.  They went ahead and had drawings done for the building of a new firehouse.  The dream of a new firehouse did not last long, however, after the location was turned down by the Village of Lynbrook. Nearby residents spoke out against an active medical company firehouse in their neighborhood.

 With the denial of the use of the property on Forest Avenue, the company went back to the idea of purchasing the warehouse they were using on Vincent Avenue.  The membership decided on purchasing the warehouse as there was no other property available in and around the center of the village.  

 In 2001, the Medical Company made history being the first company in the Lynbrook Fire Department to have an all female slate of line officers.

In December 2002, the Medical Company finally purchased the warehouse on Vincent Avenue with their own money that they had raised through fund raisers and other events and sales.  Over the past year the members have been renovating the warehouse to make more suitable for use as quarters for a very busy medical fire company.

 The Medical Company, the primary emergency medical services provider for the Incorporated Village of Lynbrook, recently celebrated its 12th anniversary.  It has about 25 members and operates two New York State Certified Advanced Life Support ambulances, with the most current and up-to-date equipment available.  The ambulances almost bring the emergency room to your door with members trained in CPR, advanced first-aid techniques and cardiac monitoring, defibrillation, intravenous therapy, cardiac drug therapy, and advanced airway maintenance techniques. 

On November 16, 2003, the renovated Emergency Medical Company firehouse on Vincent Avenue was dedicated with a ribbon cutting ceremony.  The Lynbrook Fire Department’s sixth and last company will now have an official home of their own. 

The Lynbrook Fire Department’s Emergency Medical Co. responds to approximately 1400 calls each year for medical assistance in the Village of Lynbrook.  Residents and others who have used their services know that they have surely earned the motto of “The Busiest and the Best.”

Copyright © 2013 Lynbrook Fire Department. All rights reserved.
Revised: 29 Aug 2013 06:04:35 -0500  

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