Founded in 1927, South Side Hose Company #2 is one of the fire companies of the Oceanside Fire Department located in Oceanside, (Long Island) New York. On October 29, 2012 Super Storm Sandy struck Long Island and the surrounding area, including the South Side Hose Company #2 firehouse.
Pre-storm planning facilitated the relocation of first responders and apparatus from their station to a centralized location above the predicted storm surge. This helped to minimize the storm’s impact on response times and allowed Hose Company #2 to provide service throughout the event. While the station was built on high ground and had never been affected by previous storms or tidal surges, Sandy as documented, was no normal storm. The storm surge carried 42 inches of water well inland to the firehouse, destroying the interior of the structure. The damage included walls and floors, computers and electrical systems, furniture and PPE storage equipment.
“While we were taking this all in, we knew it had to wait -- we were still answering calls for help. The entire area did not have power. Fire departments from throughout New York State sent trucks and personnel. With their help we continued to answer alarms and assist our community,” said Oceanside Fire Department Capt. Gary Gelfman.
After weeks of recovery operations throughout the community, South Side Hose Company #2 was finally able to assess the losses sustained at their firehouse. Having restored temporary power, phones and computer service in the building, the apparatus was returned to quarters minus one truck that was destroyed in the flood waters. Then the process of working with the insurance company, FEMA and NY Rising began. It wasn't long until Oceanside Fire Department realized that insurance money would not be nearly enough to rebuild the firehouse to current standards and codes, not to mention making the space work for modern day operational practices.
Like volunteer firehouses all over the U.S., Oceanside had hosted fundraising events to make up for budgetary limitations. Unfortunately, with an entire community in desperate need, members knew they would be unable to overcome their shortfalls locally.
“We started writing letters asking for help from various companies. Thankfully, one of those letters we wrote was to Ready Rack,” said Capt. Gelfman. “We received a response from John Groves and the rest is history. Ready Rack truly stepped up! Without their compassion and generosity we would have had to keep our old racks which had been submerged in the salt water, and were already showing signs of rust.”
“We knew we had to help them out,” said John Groves, CEO of Groves Incorporated, manufacturers of Ready Rack® PPE Storage systems. “Gear has to be properly stored and aired out to maximize its lifespan and protection of firefighters. You can’t lay it out on a table to dry, or keep it stuffed in a bag.” Groves Incorporated donated to the South Side Hose Company #2 a complete line of Wall Mounted Red Rack™ storage racks to replace the flood-damaged racks they had.
Units were shipped to Oceanside Fire Department once they had made the necessary physical repairs in their station to accommodate these racks. “The fire service is a community that relies on mutual aid,” said Groves “this was just our way of providing some.”
About Ready Rack
Ready Rack® open air storage systems from Groves Incorporated are the original turnout gear and Personal Protective Equipment organizational solutions designed to maximize storage space in fire stations. The Ready Rack® family includes innovative gear storage systems including: hose drying racks, hose winders, backboard racks, SCBA storage systems and surplus gear racks.