On September 29th the residents of East Meadow, and our surrounding region experienced a significant storm with rainfall the likes of which have not been seen in 70 years.
For nearly two days East Meadow was soaked prompting the East Meadow Fire Department to prepare some 48 hours prior as weather forecasts warned of more heavy rains and flooding.
But on Friday afternoon, an unprecedented rainfall of nearly six inches came down in just over two hours in our communities.
As the rain turned to downpours, East Meadow volunteers realized it wouldn’t be long before they would be out on the streets in the performance of their duty.
To no-one’s surprise, emergency calls began coming in, at times more than one a minute.
In the early moments, as EMFD began responding all around town, Chief of Department Philip Fertitta took no chances, and requested EMFD Communications to alert a General Alarm for all seven companies to report to their stations for a storm standby.
In the minutes that followed, all East Meadow companies were out assisting the many people trapped in their cars, as the street flooding continued to rise.
In all, East Meadow volunteers from Engines 1, 2, 3, 4, Ladders 1, 2, Heavy Rescue 616, and Ambulance 615 were dispatched throughout East Meadow to handle 26 phoned in emergencies with another 10 more emergencies that firefighters came up on in their travels.
One location after another, firefighters could be seen assisting stranded motorists in flooded streets to safety. In all 12 motorists were removed to safety.
As the rainfall slowed, so did the alarms, and by 6:30 pm most of our volunteers would get a much needed rest at their stations.
Chief of Department Philip Fertitta gave the following statement to the members the following morning.
Hello, I just wanted to reach out and say “Thank You” to all the members who responded yesterday putting others before themselves. Really good to see members coming together!!! We ran to 26 alarms that we recorded in a 2-hour span, and probably another 10 or so that we self-dispatched. I know some of you had their own water issues at home while out on the calls. If there is anything that any member needs today to help with flooding or anything please do not hesitate to reach out to myself or any Chief!
PHOTOS: John Scalisi STORY: John J. O’Brien Sr