2014-07-25 / Letters

Great Lifeguards, Bad Situation

Dear Editor:

I'm writing this letter in the hopes that someone out there can correct a potentially fatal situation. Last Friday we had a terrible incident that opened my eyes to a bigger problem. A 4-yearold girl on the beach was having a medical emergency. The lifeguards were unbelievable. They acted quick and provided a great amount of help during a terrible situation. The problem arose when we tried to call 911. At least three of us called 911 and all ran into the same problem. They didn't know where Rockaway was located. I was switched to at least five operators and even the Queens operator asked if I was sure that Rockaway was in the borough.

We were on our phones for at least 7- 8 minutes just trying to explain where we were located on the map. After all that, it took 22 minutes for an ambulance to arrive.

In my opinion, it was an absolute disgrace. After sharing this story with friends and neighbors, I heard that many had similar experiences. 911 has no idea where Rockaway is and it wastes valuable time trying to explain this during an emergency to the operators. So this wasn't a one-time mistake, it's an epidemic. The city obviously knows our addresses when they send us our bills for taxes. Why doesn't the NYC 911 system know where our addresses are when there is a medical or criminal emergency?

Again, I want to reiterate how great the lifeguards were at the scene. It was a very long time and they were professional and did everything they could during a terrible incident. I want to personally thank the 137th Street lifeguards and the surrounding chairs.

There are many children on this block and it is great to know that we have such competent and caring people guarding their safety. But please, someone help us with the 911 system. Or this is not going to be just a letter to The Wave, but a tragic front cover story one week when our emergency agencies do not make it in time.

MIKE VITALE

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