By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
They’re not lifeguards, but they do save lives on the beach.
Members of the Emergency Medical Services Unit 43, assigned to the Coney Island community, were selected by the Fire Department of New York as its “Unit of the Month.”
FDNY Capt. Wayne Baskin, the unit’s commander, said he’s proud of his men and women.
“They’re good at what they do. They have a lot of experience and they have a great attitude,” he said.
The unit was cited for its successful handling of numerous calls, according to FDNY officials.
Baskin and the unit’s members were presented with a plaque by FDNY officials at a ceremony at Coney Island Hospital on Ocean Parkway. Abdo Nahmod, the head of EMS, was on hand at the ceremony to congratulate the unit.
Unit 43, which has 130 members, is the third-largest of the FDNY’s 120 EMS units in the city. At any one time, 50 unit members are on duty, Baskin said.
The unit is responsible for answering 911 emergency calls in Coney Island, and parts of the Brighton Beach and Bensonhurst communities.
“We answer all sorts of calls — everything from an elderly person falling to car accidents on the Belt Parkway,” Baskin said.
The unit’s mission expands between Memorial Day and Labor Day. During that time, the unit answers emergency calls on the Coney Island beach. Members patrol the beach in utility vehicles called gators. They also respond to 911 emergencies on the Coney Island boardwalk.
“We see a lot of cardiac cases on the boardwalk. People also become exposed to the sun,” Baskin said.
The unit’s members were grateful for the recognition they received from city officials.
“It’s pretty amazing!”’ said Jillian Cox, who is a newcomer to Unit 43.
She has been assigned to the unit since April 1.
In emergency situations, “you rely on your training and do what you’ve been taught,” said Cox, who lives in Bath Beach.
Michael McCormack, who has five years on the job, said the unit is a busy one.
“You never know what you’re going to get — people feeling sick, gunshot wounds, women in labor. We deal a lot with missing children cases at the beach. You try to do the right thing and help people,” he said.
John Cuccio, who has served eight years in the FDNY, said the recognition felt great.
“We do our jobs every day and we don’t look for attention,” he said.