Brookhaven, Riverhead residents seek ambulance switch

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | A Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance vehicle parked in Riverhead earlier this summer.

A woman living in the Riverhead Town portion of Manorville last month urged the Riverhead Town Board to change the boundaries of local ambulance companies so that her neighborhood could be covered by the Manorville Community Ambulance, which is much closer to her neighborhood than the Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance.

Now, several residents in the Brookhaven Town section of Calverton say they’d like to have their neighborhood covered by the Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance instead of the Manorville Community Ambulance — also because it’s closer.

The residents are hoping the two towns can hammer out a deal.

Streets such as South River Road, Pinehurst Boulevard, Starr Boulevard and the Calverton Hills apartments are located in Brookhaven Town, but have Calverton Zip codes. They area served by the Manorville ambulance, even though Riverhead’s ambulance building is much closer.

Likewise, streets like Oakwood Drive and parts of Wading River-Manorville Road have Manorville Zip codes but are located in Riverhead Town. Clare Bennett of Oakwood Drive appealed to the Riverhead Town Board in August, asking that the Manorville ambulance be allowed to serve her neighborhood, citing response times from Riverhead.

Meanwhile, Lillian Rider of South River Road in Calverton told The News-Review this week that she’s hoping to have her neighborhood served by Riverhead ambulance instead of Manorville.

“It’s just ridiculous trying to get an emergency vehicle in this neck of the woods,” Ms. Rider said. Calls to 911 often go to Riverhead police first and are then relayed to Suffolk County police, she said.

“I think everyone here would be in favor of that,” Ernie Fugina, president of the Peconic Lake Estates Civic Organization, said of the idea of having Riverhead ambulance service his neighborhood. “It takes a long time to get an ambulance.”
PLECO’s members live in areas like South River Road, that are just south of the Peconic River.

Riverhead Councilman John Dunleavy said Tuesday that he’s working to set up a meeting with officials from Brookhaven Town, the Manorville Community Ambulance and the Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance to discuss the boundary issues. He said it will likely take place around the second week of October, but no date has been set.

“The Brookhaven Town Board has to approve it,” Mr. Dunleavy said. Likewise, the Riverhead Town Board is the agency in charge of the Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance, whose boundaries do not extend outside the town.

When officials were talking about just having the Manorville part of Riverhead Town covered by Manorville Ambulance, they thought Riverhead would have to contract for services and pay Brookhaven for the ambulance service. But if the Riverhead ambulance can serve a part of Brookhaven, the towns might be able to exchange the services, Mr. Dunleavy said.

“If we can do a swap, it may not cost us any money,” he said.

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