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RVAC considering substation on western end of town

04/04/2016 4:00 PM |

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The Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance Corps is looking to build a substation on the western side of town.

“We are looking to find a substation that’s on the west side of the district to improve our responses to the Sound Avenue and Manorville areas,” said Keith Lewin, a member of RVAC’s board of directors.

The ideal location would be between Edwards Avenue on the west and Manor Road (near Splish Splash) on the east, Mr. Lewin said. It has a substation in Jamesport on Manor Lane, near the Jamesport Fire Department.

Riverhead Town has long-proposed that the 9.4-acre lot that the Grumman Memorial Park sits on could be home to a multi-agency substation, comprised of the Manorville Fire Department, the Wading River Fire Department and the RVAC.

The Memorial Park, featuring two Grumman-made fighter planes on pedestals, only occupies a small portion of the property fronting Route 25.

But doing so presents difficulties since both Wading River and Manorville Fire Districts each have their own tax bases that extend outside Riverhead Town. The RVAC’s taxing district is the same as Riverhead Town’s.

“Someday when it’s built out, it may make sense to put a substation at EPCAL,” Mr. Lewin said. “But right now, most of the calls that we respond to are in the central part of town, near the Middle Road corridor and Route 58.”

The ambulance district just recently sent a letter to the Riverhead Fire District asking about the possibility of having an ambulance crew stationed at the Riverhead Fire District’s Riley Avenue substation in Calverton.

If the fire district were to agree to such a plan, the ambulance company would likely keep an ambulance, a first response vehicle and at least two crew people stationed there all or part of the day, Mr. Lewin said.

The Riverhead Fire District only recently received that letter and has yet to discuss it publicly, according to Riverhead Fire Commissioners Mark Conklin and Dennis Hamill.

Dating back to 2012, some residents of the portion of Manorville in Riverhead Town have complained about slow ambulance response time to Oakwood Drive in Manorville.

Town officials acknowledged some dispatching problems, as there’s also an Oakwood Drive in Wading River.

Mr. Lewin said the 40-minute response time that’s been alleged “has never been documented” and took place many years ago.

In the past few years, he said, the Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance is staffed 24-7 round the clock with people who are certified paramedics or critical care technicians.

“We no longer have to rely on volunteers getting up in the middle of the night and going to the station, then going from the station to the call,” he said. “They are already at the station. It’s decreased our response time. Our last call to Oakdrive Drive in Manorville was on the order of 13 minutes from when we were dispatched. It’s not great, but it’s not bad for a 10 mile distance.”

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