Vigilant Calls For Public Meeting As Villages Consider Shift In Emergency Services To Northwell

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The Great Neck Vigilant Engine and Hook & Ladder Co., Inc., also known as the Vigilant Fire Company, is urging the mayors of Great Neck, Saddle Rock and Kings Point to hold a public meeting with community members to discuss a proposed change to the villages’ EMS provider—from the local service of Vigilant to Northwell Health. Currently, the communities on the Great Neck peninsula north of the Long Island Rail Road are serviced by Vigilant’s three ambulances and two emergency response vehicles stationed in Great Neck. If adopted, the Great Neck peninsula may soon be serviced by one ambulance stationed nearby with backup coming from much further away.

“As an unwavering community partner for more than 100 years, Vigilant Fire Company has always prioritized the safety and well-being of our fellow neighbors above all else,” said Josh Forst, chief of the Vigilant Fire Company. “With the proposed shift in emergency assistance, we are troubled that the mayors are valuing a slight price cut over a significant difference in response time. We here at Vigilant won’t accept a price tag on the health of our families and neighbors, and as residents we demand a public meeting to discuss this vital issue.”

Vigilant responds to almost 2,000 EMS-related calls a year on the Great Neck peninsula, averaging a five-minute response time. With 18 New York State–certified Advanced Life support technicians, 39 New York State–certified EMTs and a partnership with the 111 New York State–certified United States Merchant Marine Academy EMTs, Vigilant provides an extensive number of EMS personnel at the ready to respond exclusively to emergency calls throughout Great Neck.

This year, on average, each household and place of residence in the Vigilant Fire Company service area paid an all-encompassing $140 in taxes for state-of-the-art emergency assistance services. If this proposal is adopted, taxes will not go down and residents will face large out-of-pocket charges which, if not paid, may be sent to a collections agency.

“Based on the frequency and distance of calls we receive every day, it is not plausible for an EMS provider located outside of our service area to deliver the level of service the Great Neck community has grown to expect,” said Forst. “We provide residents with a 24/7 capacity to respond to multiple calls at once with trained professionals equipped to provide the finest possible care. This proposal runs the risk of putting the lives of residents in danger with a sharp increase in response time during health-related emergencies.”

The Vigilant/Northwell issue is the first public comment subject up for discussion on the agenda of the Village of Great Neck Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday, March 7, at 7:30 p.m. at 61 Baker Hill Rd.

Read “Speak Out About Shift From Vigilant Ambulance At Village Board Meeting” and “We Already Have The Best Ambulance Provider.”

5 COMMENTS

  1. maybe if the chief of the department was an ACTUAL ems provider he would be able to respond to his community as well but since hes not and the MILLIONS of $ in fire equipment for the 1 fire a year they respond to, I would think the $ could be better spent someplace else as opposed to personalized jackets and sweaters

  2. Chief Forst hides the inefficiency of Vigilant in this article. “18 New York State–certified Advanced Life support technicians, 39 New York State–certified EMTs and a partnership with the 111 New York State–certified United States Merchant Marine Academy EMTs.” This number is highly skewed, and only reflects the numbers Vigilant has on the books, not the numbers that actually show up. Not including their paid Paramedic staff that only works during the daylight hours, Vigilant has maybe two experienced ALS providers who cannot always show up. I recall an ALS provider at Vigilant who was kicked out of another volunteer house, being pulled off the road at Vigilant after almost killing patients with her poor skills. Merchant Marines cannot ride on calls on school nights, so take away those 111 EMTs, the majority of which do not volunteer actively at Vigilant. Vigilant cannot get buses out reliably, and with reliable techs. Vigilant does not properly uniform their members, or enforce any uniform standards.

    Northwell has an ambulance stationed in Little Neck by the Horace Harding and on Middle Neck Road, they get called into Great Neck all the time because patients prefer Northwell over Vigilant. I guarantee they can get to a call in Great Neck faster than Vigilant, if not faster.

    Who would you rather showing up at your door to save your sick family member? an 18 year old kid EMT in a pair of basket ball shorts and a t-shirt with a reflective vest on. or a guaranteed professional paramedic in a solid uniform.

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