In a sense, the timing could not have been better; The Sag Harbor Volunteer Ambulance Corps was trying to decide what to do with one of its older ambulances when another fire department was in desperate need.
Superstorm Sandy didn't spare the emergency services when it hit last week, devastating fire departments and ambulance barns all over the East Coast, including the Broad Channel Volunteer Fire Department in Queens.
A 2002 ambulance that Sag Harbor is no longer using will soon be a part of Broad Channel's fleet.
Eddie Downes, the Sag Harbor ambulance corps president, said he and the other officers made the decision after learning Broad Channel, whose department began in 1905, didn't have any trucks left. Located between Howard Beach and the Rockway Peninsula, most of its equipment was either lost or damaged responding to emergencies during the storm. Thousands are still without power.
On the department's Facebook page, updates were posted: "Although we lost our trucks and ambulances, our chief vehicles and our computer equipment and like most of the town, have extensive water damage ..... We can finally and officially report that each and every member of the BCVFD is accounted for."
Downes said he spoke to the Broad Channel chief. "He said they would gladly accept," Downes reported. "We're going to bring it to them — probably on Friday — because they said they would come out here, but they would have to take a taxi to get here."
The Sag Harbor Volunteer Ambulance Corps, which is separate from the Sag Harbor Fire Department, buys its ambulances through money raised through fund drives, not money raised by taxes, Downes said.
The 2002 ambulance was taken out of service at the end of October, and replaced with a new one. Downes said it was not economically feasible to trade in the older ambulance for the newer one. Ambulances are typically used for 10 years.
The Village of Sag Harbor registers and insures the vehicles, but the decision of what to do with the ambulances once they are out of service rests with the corps' officers.
Nonetheless, Village Mayor Brian Gilbride said he was happy to see the generous donation being made. "It's the ambulance helping a greater community than our own. Here's a community that can desperately use it. How lucky are we that the ambulance is kind enough to give it to them?," he said on Tuesday.