EMS chief defends response time to fatal drowning

Records show it took seven minutes for an EMS provider to arrive at the scene; witnesses criticized the speed of the response

By Amanda Bernocco

WESTHAMPTON BEACH, N.Y. — The chief of the Westhampton War Memorial Ambulance, whose crew members were criticized by some witnesses for the speed of their response following the August 1 death of a swimmer at Rogers Beach, said this week that it took just seven minutes for a first responder to arrive at the scene.

The Suffolk County Department of Fire, Rescue and Emergency Services, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed last week by The Press, on Monday also confirmed that the call in question was received at 1:40 p.m. on August 1—the same time that the Westhampton Beach Village Police were notified of the same possible drowning.

County officials confirmed that the ambulance company’s first responder—who was still answering a “traumatic injury” call at Cupsogue Beach that was received 45 minutes earlier—arrived at Rogers Beach at 1:47 p.m. The responding ambulance, meanwhile, was on the road by 1:48 p.m.—eight minutes after the initial call came in—and made it to Rogers Beach at 1:53 p.m., at which time crew members took over resuscitation efforts, according to the county records.

Read full story: Ambulance Chief Defends Crew In Wake Of Death At Rogers Beach In Westhampton Beach

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