A New Life-Saving Headquarters For Our Community

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Hatzolah of Queens and Great Neck (HQGN) is excited to announce the establishment of its brand-new, state-of-the-art headquarters in Kew Gardens Hills. This $8 million project will catapult our local Hatzolah to the next level. The headquarters will be conveniently located on Main Street, across the street from a gas station, Seasons, and other shops.

Features of the new Hatzolah headquarters will include eight indoor parking spaces for ambulances and vehicles (other ambulance will be strategically placed throughout Queens and Great Neck), training rooms, an equipment supply restocking station, meeting rooms, and a standby-response room where members who are on-call, particularly for overnight shifts, can spend time when not on an active call. “The new headquarters has been designed for the long term and is functional, pleasant to the eye, environmentally friendly and has many safety features. For example, the garage doors are high speed and will open and close quietly. We will be using state-of-the-art technology, telecommunication, and training apparatus,” says HQGN Coordinator Shiu Reichmann.

A headquarters for HQGN is essential as it will allow for Hatzolah members and ambulances to quickly return to “in-service” status after responding to a call. “In-service” means a Hatzolah member is available to answer a call and is geographically close to the area of the call. In order to be in-service, a Hatzolah member must replenish any supplies he may have used on previous calls.

Additionally, Hatzolah ambulances must be in-service. Currently, HQGN has a fleet of 13 of the most advanced ambulances in the country, including four-wheel drive vehicles that can take to the road in severe weather. The ambulances are strategically located within HQGN’s areas of coverage, and after each call must remain fueled, fully stocked, and returned to their designated locations.

HQGN currently has one garage located in Kew Gardens that houses one ambulance, while the remainder of the ambulances are parked on the street in various locations, exposed to the elements. When Hatzolah members volunteer to be on duty for night shift, they often sit in the ambulance, with no access to facilities. In the winter, they spend a lot of time outdoors clearing the vehicles of snow and ensuring the ambulance can get out of its parking spot with ease. All the ambulances must be kept clean and snow-free 24/7/365. Housing them indoors would extend their lifespan and make them easier to service and manage. As each ambulance costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, caring for them properly is essential.

The current situation presents a great challenge to returning both Hatzolah members and ambulances to the “in-service” status. While many supplies are kept at the garage in Kew Gardens, space is limited and other supplies are stored in private homes or offices. This means Hatzolah members may spend an average of 90-120 minutes on a call from the time of dispatch until they have completed restocking the ambulance and their Hatzolah-issued medical equipment.

HQGN remains the only large Hatzolah chapter within the five boroughs without an adequate headquarters/garage. Our new home will increase efficiency, decrease response time, and attract membership. As HQGN Coordinator Sruly Lowy explains, “Queens members cover the largest geographic area in NYC and the need for a centrally situated command and control center is critical to our operational requirements. It is long overdue and vital to the communities we serve. We needed to find an ideal location that is suitable, affordable, and centrally located for a quick response time. While having a strategically located headquarters will provide many benefits to our members, the most critical aspect is for our members to be able to be in-service so they can provide the best emergency medical care available in the city.”

For many years, HQGN, led by seven dedicated coordinators, had been searching for a solution to these issues A Hatzolah headquarters was needed. It was therefore with great excitement that such a property was identified and purchased in order to make this dream a reality. 

We are so fortunate to have HQGN servicing our community. Its 200+ members are our friends and neighbors who—along with their families—make sacrifices every day to fulfill the great mitzvah of pikuach nefesh. Likely, all our families have needed their help in the past so we know how dedicated and professional Hatzolah members are. We recognize the outstanding service of the Hatzolah volunteers, and we are now called upon to partner with HQGN in this worthy endeavor—the development of the new Hatzolah headquarters. To make a donation, go to www.queenshatzolah.org and click “Donate Now.”

By Sima Mandelbaum