Tonight: Hatzalah of the Rockaways and Nassau County Annual Reception


hatzolah-five-towns-rockawaysHatzalah of the Rockaways and Nassau County’s Annual Sushi and Grill Reception will be held this evening at the Sands at Atlantic Beach at 6:30 p.m.

Approximately 29 years ago, a group of concerned residents of the Far Rockaway and Five Towns community formed a local Hatzalah Volunteer Ambulance Corp. At that time, there were approximately 20 members who volunteered to help meet the emergency medical needs of the community. Since that time, the organization has grown by leaps and bounds.

Currently, there are nearly 100 volunteers who are fully trained New York State EMTs, paramedics and doctors. They pledge their services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Members are always on-call and very often, at the most inconvenient times, have to leave their work, interrupt their sleep, and disappoint their families to answer life-threatening emergencies.

Hatzalah of the Rockaways and Nassau County covers an area consisting of Arverne, Atlantic Beach, Belle Harbor, Bayswater, Cedarhurst, East Rockaway, Far Rockaway, Hewlett, Inwood, Kennedy Airport, Lawrence, Long Beach, North Woodmere, Rosedale, and Woodmere.

An annual budget of $900,000 enables the organization to maintain six state of the art, fully equipped ambulances and a mobile Mass Casualty Incident Command Center.  These ambulances perform more than 4,000 transports each year.

Each member is equipped with AED and/or Life Pack units, which enable the first responders to begin assessing and treating any emergency within seconds of arrival on the scene. Hatzalah members maintain their preparedness and skills by attending monthly education classes and seminars.

This is only a brief glimpse into the services performed by the members of Hatzalah for whom the day and time do not matter. When duty calls, the volunteers spring into action to treat and prevent serious medical emergencies and to relieve the pain and suffering of community members by taking care of emergency medical needs.

Some of the more unusual calls that Hatzalah has recently responded to include searches for missing children and Alzheimer patients, mass casualty incidents and fires when 911 was down.

Hatzalah’s Shabbos and Yom Tov taxi card program, providing non-Jewish drivers when appropriate, has proven very popular and costs approximately $12,000 yearly. Hatzalah gives out food packages every Shabbos and Yom Tov for patients and families who are taken to the hospital. This past Pesach, this service was upgraded to include shmurah matzoh and grape juice and was enjoyed by over 60 families.

There is so much more needed which can be accomplished with the community’s support. Hatzalah has purchased a property in Woodmere and look forward to constructing a new ambulance garage and Continuing Education Center, where Hatzalah’s ambulances and the lifesaving drugs on board will be protected from snow and ice during the winter and high temperatures during the summertime.

Hatzalah needs to replace two of its ambulances that have extremely high mileage due to the often daily trips to Manhattan with patients who, for whatever reason, cannot be treated locally. These long transports mean that members are away for 3-4 hours at a time, usually for people they don’t know, and they do it professionally and cheerfully. 

Hatzalah never charges a fee for its services. Hatzalah relies on the community’s generosity.

As a sign of support and hakoras hatov, all residents of the communities served by Hatzalah of the Rockaways and Nassau County are urged to attend Hatzalah’s annual reception tonight.

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