Written by Super User

A small group from   within the community informally organized the Ridge Fire Department. A parcel of land and a two car garage was   donated to the cause by Carl Heyser, Jr. 



The Ridge Volunteer Fire Department was incorporated   with the State of New York Housed in the   two-car garage was the first truck, which was purchased used for one hundred dollars from a neighboring fire Department. The members   spent months of long hours overhauling the   truck. December 7th; Pearl Harbor. The   United States entered into World War II.In the fall, the Department responded   to its first alarm for a house fire. The house was actually a bungalow located on Medford Road and the   alarm was dispatched via telephone chain. Working   with a limited water supply, brooms and shovels, the volunteers were only able to protect surrounding homes and the bungalow was   lost to the fire. 



The   Ladies' Auxiliary was organized. 



War years yielded   decreased activity.Due to the war the Department's   activities were almost non-existent. Funds were also lim­ited and the Chief had to collect donations from   residents in order to keep the firehouse heated and lighted. 



Severe brush   fires occurred on Labor Day weekend. The first ambulance vote was defeated. A   fire watch was started to maintain heat in the firehouse. Following the war,   the Department's activities began to increase and fund raisers were held to improve the financial situation of the Department. 



Due to poor   equipment and lack of interest, thought was given to reorganize. Activities were few and this proved to be a bleak year   for the Department. Heavy snow storms and   freezing weather wreaked havoc with the equipment stored in the often   unheated firehouse. At times the only piece of   fire apparatus was rendered useless due to lack of maintenance. 



First Christmas   party was sponsored for local children. 17 children attended. The Department   reorganized and elected new officers. 



May—First new   truck ordered; International brush truck with 650-gallon tank and 500 GPM front mounted pump. July—With the aid of a $200 donation from the Ladies' Auxiliary, the   firehouse was en­larged by 10 feet   to house the new truck. The extension to the firehouse was completed in a weekend of hard work by Department members with the   help of workers from the Baier Lustgarten   Nursery. The dedication of the new Ridge Post   Office on August 1st gave the Department the op­portunity to display this new   piece of apparatus to the community. In preparation for the occasion the   members purchased their own fire hats for $3.00 and went to work moderniz­ing the original brush truck, the Department's first   piece of equipment. Fender skirts and metal   compartments were installed and a new coat of paint applied in an endeavor to   give it the "New Look". On this   day the Department staged Ridge's first Firemen's Parade. The line of march started at the firehouse and proceeded   along Route 25 to the Post Office, just west of Ridge Road. Fire Departments   from Middle Island, Manorville, Coram, Medford, Wading River, Port Jefferson and Riverhead were   invited. Following the dedication cere­mony, everyone was invited back to the   firehouse for refreshments, initiating a tradition of Fund raising   events were successful this year and members voted to purchase the piece of land to the   west of and adjacent to the firehouse for $900. 



Firemen received 35 cents per hour from the Conservation   Department to fight brush fires. The first manual   alarm system, made from steel rims from the wheels of steam locomotives, was installed at three locations in the area. 



Two walkie-talkies were purchased, thus making the   Department one of the few to employ radio communications at that time. It was a record year for brush fires on Long Island and   Ridge was no exception. The De­partment   responded to numerous brush fires in Shirley, especially near the railroad   tracks. To reach these fires the Department   had to pass through the old Camp Upton. A large brush   fire north of Route 25 required the first call for mutual aid assistance;   appa­ratus from Medford, Middle Island and   Coram responded. 



The Ridge Fire District was established on June 18, 1952   and the Brookhaven Town Board appointed five   temporary Fire Commissioners to set up the district. The initial budget was $3,025.00. The district's population at this time was   750-1000. After numerous brush fires were witnessed by the community last   year and again this sea­son, the   taxpayers approved a $15,000 appropriation for a new brush truck. In October unit 5-22-2, a 4-wheel drive 1952 Ford with   a 500 gallon tank and a 500 GPM front mounted   pump, was ordered. Its price was $14,018.00 The first Fire District election   was held in December and a Board of Fire Commissioners was   elected. Eight brush fires in succession   one memorable Sunday heralded the arrival of the District's first arsonist. He was later apprehended in Rocky   Point's district. 



Unit 5-22-2 was delivered in May. It was our first   truck equipped with a radio. It also was equipped with helmets, coats, boots and all the necessary equipment to   fight brush and house fires. The first alarm system consisting of crank phones was   installed in August with stations located in   Ex-Chief Frank Mooney's home and the Ridge Post Office. 



The first inhalator was purchased to assist in medical   emergencies until an ambulance arrived. At this   time the Department did not have an ambulance of its own. A Fire Police   Company was formed. A large brush   fire endangered Lake Panamoka; mutual aid was called in from several de­partments. 



The Department bought a 1949 International pick-up   truck for the sum of $100. It was purchased from   the telephone company and was used as a utility wagon. The members installed cabinets on both sides and benches inside the   body. It was also used to transport firemen   throughout the area. After two   defeats, the taxpayers approved the construction of a new firehouse by a six   vote margin. The construction cost was to   be $30,000. 



First Installation Dinner was held. In July the Department began holding its meetings at   the new Ridge Elementary School (presently called the Ridge Main School) on   Ridge Road. One day in the fall many hours were   spent by members of the Ridge and Middle Island Fire Departments searching for a lost child in Middle Island. Happily, the   little wanderer was found just at   dusk. The Department would be called upon many times in the future to search the vast woodlands in and around the   district for lost children. The   month of September saw the long-awaited ground breaking ceremony for the new firehouse.On December 2nd the Department responded to its first   fatal house fire. Upon arrival the members found   the house fully involved in fire. 



Getting off to a   fine start, the Department took occupancy of its new firehouse in January. However, in the rush to demolish the old house many   records were lost or destroyed. A 100 Point Award   was instituted. In addition, a policy of awarding a star for each five years of service was adopted. This insignia was to be   worn on a member's (dress) uniform sleeve. The membership adopted a fireman resident of the Firemen's Home at   Hudson, N.Y. 



January saw the inauguration of monthly officers'   meetings. The Department became a member of the Brookhaven Town Fire Chiefs'   Council. A 1959 American LaFrance Class   "A" pumper (Unit 5-22-3) with a 1000 gallon tank and a 750 GPM   midship pump was ordered for $25,000. Probationary fire   fighter badges were introduced. An official mutual aid agreement was made   with Rocky Point, Wading River, Middle Is­land and Manorville. Officers and members of the Department helped celebrate   the opening of the Suffolk County Fire Training   School at Yaphank Ridge Fire   District joined the Association of Fire Districts of New York State. 



A mutual aid   agreement was formulated with the Grumman Aircraft Corporation at Calverton. Members had received training at the facility in   the past. The Department joined the Fire   Association of the State of New York. A new truck, a   1961, 2800 gallon Ford tanker with a 500 GPM front mounted pump, Unit 5-22-5, was ordered. First edition of the "Blaze", an occasional Departmental   publication, was issued. In mid-winter   the Department received a report of a missing plane that possibly had gone   down in Lake Panamoka. Members chopped through the ice and frogmen from the   United States Coast Guard searched the lake   bottom, but nothing was found. 



Unit 5-22-5   arrived in August and was placed into service. During this year the first   fire prevention drill was held for residents. 



On February 17th   a testimonial dinner was held for Ex-Chief John Austen in recognition of his outstanding service to the Department. The first edition of the Ridge Runners News was   printed. The paper was published in order to keep the district residents up-to-date on the Department's   activities. The Department   mourned the loss of their adopted fireman at the Firemen's Home in Hud­son, N.Y. A donation was made to the home in his   memory. In a district vote a proposed addition to headquarters was defeated. 



A gold badge   bearing the inscription "Friend of the Ridge Fire Department" was   presented to Herbert ("Herbie")   Wagner for his caring help around the firehouse.During the summer the Department   purchased a new home alert system (Plectrons). Alarms were now activated by Yaphank Fire Control, greatly   improving response time. A new siren system was also   installed. 



In April, the   taxpayers voted favorably on an addition to the firehouse at a cost of   $50,000. The new addition was to be known as   Firemen's Hall. Construction began immediately and was completed in time for the children's Christmas   Party. Three hundred children attended, receiving toys   from Santa, ice cream and other goodies. A scholarship fund in memory of the late John F. Kennedy was   established by the five fire departments   within the Longwood School District. The scholarship was to be awarded to the senior graduating from Longwood High School who best   exemplified the ideals of the late President regarding   citizenship. This $1000 award was to be granted each year for five consecutive years. Early in the year   the Department staged a "burn down" of a large barn known as   "Heyser's Folly" which   was located on Route 25 east of the firehouse. Apparatus from Yaphank, Coram, Wading River, Middle Island and Gordon Heights   participated in the drill. East Quogue   issued a call for mutual aid to which Ridge responded. To date, this was the   farthest mutual aid call received. 



In this year the   Department answered calls to 63 fires and two calls for oxygen, the largest number of calls in any single year so far. 



Tragedy struck   the Department on March 27, 1966. Chief John Sedlak was killed in an automobile accident on Route 25 in Ridge. The Department purchased additional land on Lakeside   Trail and on Smith Road for future substations. New York State widened Route 25 in the area of the   firehouse. The construction took 60 feet of our   frontage leaving the firehouse with 12 feet of frontage on Dew Flag Road. The   firehouse was no longer located on   Route 25 which presented many problems. During the long period of highway   construction, access to the firehouse was cutoff. All fire trucks had to be relocated temporarily to the driveways and streets   in front of firemen's homes. Ex-Chief   Francis Mooney celebrated 25 years of service to the community, in the Ridge   Fire Department. 



Tragedy continued   to plague the Department when Second Deputy Chief Donald Dickhoff was killed in an automobile accident in Ridge. An order was placed for a 1968 International Heavy   Rescue Truck (Unit 5-22-4) complete with oxygen,   bunks and an assortment of rescue and salvage equipment. This truck would also be equipped with a 300 watt generator for lighting   and would be capable of transport­ing four patients   to the hospital. Firefighter   Frank Burke celebrated 25 years of service to the community, in the Ridge   Fire Department. 



Unit 5-22-4, the   Department's first Heavy Rescue Truck, was received and placed into service.   An order was placed for a 1969 Ford High   Pressure All Purpose Pumper (Unit 5-22-6) with a 500 gallon tank. 



Charter member,   Ex-Chief and Commissioner Francis Mooney passed away in February. In his honor the road in front of the firehouse was   re-named Francis Mooney Drive. The first   Chief's car, a 1969 Ford Station Wagon, was purchased and equipped for first   response to all alarms. This vehicle could also be used to transport a   patient to the hospital if necessary. Unit 5-22-6 was received and placed into service.   Several members of the Department at­tended the John   Bean School in Indiana to learn how to use this new piece of apparatus and the new concept of using small amounts of water at   extremely high pressure to extin­guish fires. The Department adopted another fireman at the Firemen's   Home in Hudson, N.Y. 



Early in the year the Department responded to another   fatal house fire. A flooded kerosene stove had   exploded and was the cause of the fire. A Donkey Baseball   game was staged on the Longwood High School athletic field in July. It was obvious by their riding ability that none of the   firemen came from the Wild West or had ever won a   prize in a rodeo; the antics of the competing firemen had the audience in an uproar. Since the event was such a success it was to be   repeated again several times in the future. The Department formed an old-fashioned drill team to compete at fire   department tourna­ments.Construction of   the new substation in Shirley was completed and a dedication ceremony was held on August 9th. Company 2 was formed with 17   members and reported to the new Station #1. 



On April 23rd of this year the Department, along with   some fifty other departments, battled two outbursts of   fires in the Brookhaven Town area. Described by many of the fire chiefs as the worst brush fires in years, the blaze ravaged a 20   square mile area. Flames fanned by the prevailing   winds and fostered by the over-dry scrub leaped across roads in the burning   of two swaths from Medford to Brookhaven hamlet and from Ridge to Manorville.   Along with vast woodlands, the "Big   Fire" also consumed a boat, several sheds and a house in Manorville. After a full day of firefighting, setting   back fires and cutting firebreaks, the fire was finally   contained in the early evening hours in Manorville at Chapman Blvd. In appreciation of their tireless efforts in protecting   homes and property during one of the worst brush fires   in years, Chief James Roesler and the Officers and firefighters of the   Department received plaudits and thanks from a long list of Shirley   residents. As a direct result of their   outstanding performance, the Suffolk County Fire Service received the New York Daily News Vamp Award. In October the residents of   the district voted favorably on two bond issues. The first au­thorized the purchase of a new 1000 GPM pumper; the   second authorized the purchase of the Department's   first ambulance for the sum of $20,000. December saw the   delivery of this ambulance—a 1971 fully equipped Cadillac. In celebra­tion of this event the Board of Fire Commissioners held   an open house for district residents. Members of the   newly-organized Rescue Squad were on hand to demonstrate its capabili­ties. The Rescue Squad   had some 43 charter members and in its first month of existence. 



The Department held its first mail fund drive which was   quite successful. Firefighter   Harold Jones celebrated 25 years of service to the community, in the Ridge   Fire Department. An order was placed for a 1973 Class "A"   Pumper with volume and high pressure pumps (to be the new 5-22-1). This diesel, automatic transmission truck   would have a 1000 gallon tank capacity and   a maximum flow of 1000 GPM. A maximum pressure of 800 psi would be obtainable. Additional land   adjacent to the firehouse was purchased, adding needed parking space. Two trucks were sent to assist the Patchogue Fire   Department in battling the "Old Lace Mill" fire. Over 30 fire departments assisted in fighting this   famous Long Island fire. This was a   particularly bad year for brush fires. In several cases Firefighters worked   for six to ten hours fighting the fires. These   fires required the help of mutual aid from neighboring departments. The largest of these fires consumed many   acres of the State Park land directly across from the   firehouse. 



In March Unit 5-22-1 was delivered and placed into   service. From this point forward the Ridge Runner   decal (running fire fighter) was placed on all trucks. An additional piece of   land was purchased on Panamoka Trail and in the latter part of the year   construction began on a new substation (Station #2). The Department organized   a Junior Fire Department. 



A 35th anniversary committee was established. Construction was completed on the new substation on   Panamoka Trail. The members re­sponding to this   station were part of Company 1. The Department made donations and assisted in   fund raising events for the restoration of the old Ridge School house. Following the   purchase of a piece of land including a house on the east side of the   firehouse, the house was renovated to provide   office space for the Board of Fire Commissioners. The 1959 American LaFrance Pumper, Unit 5-22-3 was   converted to diesel. 



Received a new 1975 Ford Chief's car. The Department Responded to and extinguished a fire at   the Ridge Lumber Barn located at the present site of Randall Square. A new edition of "Blaze" started. During its   fourth full year the Rescue Squad answered 279 calls, providing valuable   assis­tance to the community. 



Ridge Fire Headquarters was equipped with a new   emergency generator to provide power during severe   storms. The Department celebrated its 35th Anniversary. To mark the occasion   a Firemen's Parade was held on September 5th, with over 35 units   participating in the march through town. All of the Department's firefighting apparatus was on display for the   community including a 1958 army truck,   soon to be converted to a brush truck. 



First Hurst tool for use in motor   vehicle extrication was purchased and put on the heavy rescue truck, 5-22-4. In August, while responding to a planned drill in Manorville, the   Ridge Fire Dept. came across a working   warehouse fire (signal 13). We were therefore the first unit on the scene in Manorville's district. The first "stump jumper" (a brush truck capable of going   through the woods to reach a fire and able to knock down trees if required),   unit 5-22-12, was designed by a Department committee and put into service in November. 5-22-12 responded to its   first brush fire at Lake Panamoka. A new type III modular ambulance was ordered and   received, unit 5-22-17. This now pro­vided the   district with the protection of two ambulances. This was the first piece of   appa­ratus to be painted lime green. The   change in color was to increase the visibility of the emergency vehicle   thereby improving safety for the fire personnel. From this point forward all   new and refurbished apparatus would be this color. Ex-Chiefs Jack Austen and John Szommers celebrated 25   years of service to the commu­nity, in the   Ridge Fire Department. Company 3 was   formed on Dec. 15, 1977, with 17 members reporting to Station 2, located on Panamoka Trail. 



On an evening in May, R.F.D. responded to a call to   assist the Rocky Pt. F.D. in extinguishing a major fire   at a squab farm located on Randall Rd. Several other area departments were also called in. In August a new class A pumper was placed on order (unit 5-22-7). This   pumper would be the largest to   date, capable of carrying 1000 gallons of water and pumping at 1500 GPM. This   would also be the first truck in the department to have a top mounted pump   panel thus giving the pump operator the   safety of being out of the traffic lane and, in Heavy snow   storms during the winter months resulted in stand-bys that lasted for days.   The Department's brush trucks and pumpers were used to rescue residents   and stranded motor­ists who took shelter in our firehouses. Medical   emergencies were responded to with fire apparatus and in one case a woman in labor was   transported to the hospital in a fire truck, as ambulances were unable to get   through the snow drifts. 



Unit 5-22-7, the new class "A" pumper, arrived   and was put into service in January. The Department   responded to a gasoline tanker truck which rolled over on the William Floyd Parkway at the L.I.E. Five departments, Grumman and   Westhampton Air Force Base were called   in for assistance and foam supply. In September the   Department assisted the Yaphank Fire Department in an evacuation of the   Suffolk County Infirmary. On the same evening the Department answered   multiple alarms at the Woodstock Reunion   Concert held at Parr Meadows. 



A new tanker truck was placed on order. This truck was   to replace the old unit 5-22-5 and would be capable   of carrying 2250 gallons of water to a fire. In July fire destroyed a barn and carriage house at the historic Smith   Estate. The building had been   constructed in the early 1800's and the fire was determined to be arson.   Several area fire departments assisted Ridge   in battling the late night blaze (see photo on back cover). A public vote   was held and passed for an addition to the main headquarters building. The addition was to include three drive-through bays, a new   radio room and a second floor with meeting rooms and   offices. In August members of the Department   delivered their first baby. The proud members were pictured in local papers. This event was to repeat   itself several times in the future. In November the new tanker truck, unit   5-22-5, was received and placed in service. A second stump jumper was purchased used from another department and   was re-outfitted to meet the needs   of the Ridge Fire Department. This truck was placed in service as unit 5­22-11.   As it was a smaller truck than 5-22-12 it was more maneuverable in the woods.   Following the Department's annual   Christmas party on a cold night in December, fire broke out at the Kogel Lumber Yard in Middle Island. Ridge   along with fire departments from as far away as North Sea were called and   worked through the night and into the following day to extinguish the blaze. 



In April firefighter Larry Piazza celebrated 25 years   of service to the community, in the Ridge Fire   Department. On Memorial Day   there was a major brush fire near Lake Panamoka requiring the assis­tance of approximately 92 Long Island fire departments   as well as numerous private com­panies to   provide adequate water and pumping equipment (tankers, tree sprayers. . .) An   extensive evacuation of the Lake   Panamoka area was conducted. There was no loss of life and serious property damage was kept to a minimum.   However, the Department lost unit 5-22-11 to the   fire while it was protecting homes along Panamoka Trail. Ground-breaking ceremony for the addition to   headquarters was held in September. The Commissioner's   building was moved from headquarters to Company 3 and used as an extension of the existing building. The Fire   Commissioners were to have offices located in the new addition to the headquarters building. 



A new class A pumper was ordered to replace the old   5-22-3. This truck would be a Mack with a top   mounted pump panel. Because of the increase of fire hydrants in the area com­bined   with improved mutual aid availability, the tank size of this truck would be   750 gal­lons, 250 gallons less than the older   pumper it was replacing. A maximum water flow of 1500 GPM would be possible and the truck would be   equipped to handle 5" hose if necessary. Following a boating accident which resulted in a double drowning in   Lake Panamoka the Department   sought ways to improve its water rescue capabilities. To this end the Depart­ment   purchased a rescue boat and equipped it for ice and water rescue. A new ambulance was received and put into service in   July. This modular vehicle replaced the 1971 Cadillac   ambulance, unit 5-22-16, which had served the district for 11 years. In August the Department participated with other local   departments in a mutual aid drill/ training session   at the Shoreham Nuclear Power Station. Unit 5-22-8, a   small, pick-up type brush truck was purchased from the Coram Fire Depart­ment in December and refurbishing was begun. This unit   was placed into service shortly thereafter. Ex-Chief Ronnie Jones and F.F. Albert   ("Buddy") Frey celebrated 25 years of service to the community, in the Ridge Fire Department. 



The Ridge Fire District established the Bureau of Fire   Prevention in January and appointed four firefighters as the first fire   district fire inspectors. In February the   Department responded with a half dozen other agencies to extricate a truck driver trapped in a jackknifed tractor trailer truck for   almost 4 hours on the L.I.E. The Suffolk   County Fire Service Academy's "Maze/Composite"—a search and rescue   op­erations drill was finished and our   Department was the first to complete the training course successfully. Due to lack of   enrollment the Fire Police was disbanded in February. In May, the addition to   headquarters was dedicated with an Open House and "Wet Down". In   June, a new Mack pumper, unit 5-22-9, was delivered and placed into service. On June 2, 1982 a drill with S.A.D.D. (Students Against   Drunk Driving) was held at Long­wood High School.   The purpose of the drill, which took place shortly before prom time, was to demonstrate graphically the dangers of drinking   and driving. 



The Department started a softball team which   participated in the Town of Brookhaven Fire Department League. In the summer we   hosted a mutual aid picnic for the Wading River and Middle Island Fire Departments. Unit 5-22-1 was   completely refurbished and repainted lime green. Faced with a significant increase in ambulance calls,   particularly day time calls, and declin­ing response, the   Department was pressed to take corrective action. A committee of officers from Ridge and the surrounding departments began   meeting regularly to address the issue. Many changes were   made that greatly improved response times. A formal mutual aid agree­ment was inaugurated in which ambulance crews and   different departments would be corn-biped if   necessary to get an ambulance to an emergency scene faster. 



The 50th anniversary committee was   established. Made up of Chiefs, Ex-Chiefs and representatives of the three companies, this committee was   given the task of laying out the events to take place during the Department's   50th anniversary and running fund raisers to support those actives. Ex-Captain Walter ("Chip")   Kayton celebrated 25 years of service to the community, in the Ridge Fire Department. In February, the Fire District   purchased a main frame computer system. The computer would be used for both District and Department needs as   well as to provide vital informa­tion during   alarms (all locations in the district including private residences would   eventually be at the fingertips of the radio   operator). The Racing (Drill) Team was disbanded   in June due to lack of participation. The Depart­ment's athletic efforts were   now being centered on the newly formed softball team. In September, Ex-Chief Jack Austen was elected   President of the N.Y. State Fire District Association. This is the highest position of the volunteer fire service   in the state of New York. Hurricane Gloria stormed Long Island in late September. During this   time Department members were on   stand-by at all three stations which provided refuge for area residents. In the days following the storm fresh water was made   available to the community by the Department. In October, a major brush fire struck the area. The fire was started in   Wading River by an arsonist and   raged out of control feeding on the downed timbers from Hurricane Gloria. After burning through the state park land, the   fire was finally stopped at Route 25 by an estimated 800 volunteers from dozens of Suffolk County Fire Departments   which lined the highway. Over 100   families were evacuated from the fire's path. A tragic consequence of this fire was the critical injury of a   Manorville firefighter. An air bag rescue system was received to be used in   extrications and heavy rescues. This system could lift objects as heavy as a   train to get at trapped victims. Also in October, the Department voted to   create the new position of 3rd Assistant Chief. It was felt that this was   necessary in order to provide better protection to the growing com­munity. 



A new pavilion was constructed at the main fire house   by Department members and dedicated to the   memory of firefighter, Joe Curcio. Ex-Chief Jim   Roesler celebrated 25 years of service to the community, in the Ridge Fire Department. 



Ex-Chief Ronnie   Jones answered his last alarm in July while an active member of the Department.   A new membership committee was started to   battle the problem of decreased enrollment and shorter retention of volunteers. 



A new Type III modular ambulance was   commissioned as 5-22-17. This unit replaced the older unit 17 which had been in service since 1977.   This older unit was sold to the Grumman Calverton plant   and is still in service today. Ex-Chief Bill Kaspereit Sr. celebrated 25   years of service to the community, in the Ridge Fire Department. In April we   participated in a multi-departmental drill at the Suffolk County Infirmary at   Yaphank. The fire   district was faced with tremendous growth, both residential and commercial.   With some of the Department's   apparatus getting older and the number of calls increasing it was time to purchase new equipment. The residents of   the fire district realized this and passed a vote for a new pumper and rescue truck. A Pierce pumper was ordered with a 750 gallon water tank and a 1500 GPM   pump. This truck would also be   equipped with a 40 gallon foam tank and would be capable of produc­ing foam from any outlet on the truck. Also for   the first time the truck would have a 10 man crew cab eliminating the need to have fire fighters ride on the   rear step. A Pierce rescue truck   was also placed on order. This truck would be fully equipped for almost any type of emergency. Among the many   items on board would be a 36' light tower, 110 V electric system, 25' heavy   duty winch, an electric Hurst Tool set-up with all the nec­essary rescue equipment, over 1500' of electric   line and hoses, and a new type of torch capable of cutting through concrete.   The unit would also have a 10 man "command" cab and could be used as an incident command post if   needed. In addition to the   Department's own membership committee, a five department committee was formed in order to recruit new members and   improve retention rates of existing mem­bers. The committee was called REVAMP   which stands for "Recruitment of Emergency Volunteers And Membership Program". The   five departments that made up this committee were: Ridge, Middle Island, Yaphank, Gordon Heights, and Coram—all from   within the Longwood School   District. One of the major accomplishments of the committee was that, with   the help of a local news service, they produced three professional television   commer­cials that aired from October to March of the following   year. During the summer the Rescue Squad   responded to a reported drowning and successfully rescued an infant from a swimming pool. A Long Island newspaper ran a series on the volunteer   ambulance service in Nassau and Suffolk counties.   For many months a group of reporters ran on ambulance calls and watched every move of both ambulance corps and fire department   ambulance companies. When the highly falsified series was released Ridge had   been singled out as being one of the worst on the Island. Several members of the Department who had interviewed with   reporters were misquoted and   Ridge was accused of screening ambulance calls, a practice that has never   been done in the history of the Department. Following the series dozens of   residents from within the district called and wrote both to the Department   and to other newspapers telling of their dissatisfaction with the series and   of how grateful they were for the professional service provided to them in   time of need. Other newspapers and local television stations also   countered the series in special reports. 



In May a brush fire hit the Lake Panamoka area once
  again. Over twenty other Departments were   needed to bring it under control. REVAMP gave a   presentation to the senior class at Longwood High School. The purpose of the   presentation was to make them more aware of the volunteer emergency services   as well as to inform them of the   benefits and career opportunities that can be obtained by being a volunteer. The program resulted in several new   recruits for each of the departments in the school   district. Unit 5-22-3, the new pumper, was   received in June and placed in service soon after. This was a bad year for departments providing assistance   to Ridge. Both Middle Island and Shirley   Community had ambulances involved in accidents while responding to assist   Ridge. Unit 5-22-4, the new heavy rescue   truck, was received in September and placed in service soon after. A public vote   was held on whether to adopt a service award program for the volunteers. The program which works similar to a pension program was   recently permitted under state law. Residents of the fire district voted to   accept the program which would go into effect January 1, 1990. The Rescue Squad was awarded a plaque of appreciation   for dedicated service from St. Charles Hospital and Rehabilitation Center. A group of members were trained and certified by New   York State in wilderness search and rescue. Not only   were the members given the training to perform efficient searches in the vast woodlands in and around the district, but they now   could be called upon to assist in searches in   other parts of the state as well. A mutual aid disaster drill involving a   school bus and several cars was hosted by Middle Island F.D. in November. Cub Scout Pack 187 of Ridge   participated as the victims who were rescued by the five participating fire departments. A new type III modular ambulance was ordered and received. This   ambulance replaced Unit 5-22-16   which was renumbered as 5-22-15 and used as a back-up ambulance. This measure allowed the department with the ability to serve   the district with three ambulances. 



This was the first year of the service award program and   members worked hard to maintain the required   percentage of alarm responses and activities. A wet-down ceremony for 5-22-3 and 5-22-4 was held on March 25th with   the Middle Island and Manorville   F.D.'s having the honors. A 5K Run was held   at HQ on Memorial Day. There were 181 participants who ran the course which threaded through surrounding streets.   Prizes were contributed by local busi­nesses. Many successful fund raisers were held to help support our 50th   anniversary celebration. Both the   softball and the drill teams were extremely active this year. The drill team   won its first trophy for   sportsmanship. Many plans for the 50th anniversary celebration began to take   shape this year. A district vote for   a new substation in Shirley was held on October 31st and the proposition was approved. The new station was needed to   replace the older (temporary type) metal building that was in disrepair.   Additional space was also needed to house fire apparatus. During this year, in addition to the usual brush   fires, there was a rash of fatal motor vehicle accidents, two of which involved motorcyclists and deer. 



Due to a dramatic increase in the number of heavy   rescue calls responded to, the Department ordered and   received a second Hurst Tool (Hydraulic heavy rescue device). This piece of equipment was located at Company 2 (N. Shirley)   because of its proximity to the Long Island   Expressway, which runs through the Ridge Fire District. Ex-Chief John Austen was the first member of the   Department to receive a Service Award check. A monument was placed at Fire Headquarters in memory of those who have   served and in honor of all past,   present, and future volunteers. On top of the monument stands a fire bell which was once on the original 5-22-3. The   monument was dedicated with the public on hand following the Memorial Day Parade. The Department battled a rash of suspicious fires at least some of   which were determined to be   intentionally set. Experts believed the problem was at least partly due to   the poor economy on Lang Island. On   July 4th, the Department celebrated its 50th Anniversary with a Dinner/Dance   aboard the "Bay Mist" on   the Great South Bay.


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