Fire chief worried about road safety in emergencies

With the removal of Suffolk County police officers from patrol duties on the Long Island Expressway and Sunrise Highway, more concerns have surfaced about the public?s safety in the event of an accident

News 12 Staff

Sep 18, 2008, 1:22 AM

Updated 5,789 days ago

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With the removal of Suffolk County police officers from patrol duties on the Long Island Expressway and Sunrise Highway, more concerns have surfaced about the public?s safety in the event of an accident or other emergency.
Dix Hills Fire Chief Larry Feld worries that the deputy sheriffs, who have inherited the patrols, lack the proper training and certification.
?We don't know what they're certified in,? Feld says. ?We don't know if they have emergency service personnel within their jurisdiction.?
Chief Michael Sharkey of the sheriff?s department has assured local fire chiefs and the public that they will have the same number of patrol cars that the police department provided ? four on the LIE, three on Sunrise and more during rush hour - and they have qualified personnel for any situation.
?Anything you need, you have within the sheriff?s department,? Sharkey says. ?We have people trained in all those areas.?
Sharkey mentioned, however, that the sheriffs may need help from volunteer fire departments, who have always responded to emergency situations on the roads.
?As far as heavy rescue, our intention is to use the individual fire rescue services -- which are currently used,? Sharkey says.
He also mentioned that next week, the sheriff?s department plans to contact all Suffolk fire chiefs and plan meetings to talk about their specific safety concerns. And Thursday, Chief Sharkey and Undersheriff Joseph Caracappa will be discussing the new patrols before the legislature?s public safety committee.


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