By Janee Law
A Second Precinct cop and state officials have worked together to implement trail markers at Cold Spring Harbor State Park to, in part, help emergency crews cut down response times when working to locate injured hikers.
The markers were recently installed on trees along the 1.14-mile path that sprawls throughout the park located west of Harbor Road and north of Lawerence Hill Road.
“This is for anybody that gets hurt along the park so that emergency first responders can know exactly where they are and respond in a most expeditious manner to them,” said James Garside, a Suffolk police officer and advance medical technician who routinely patrols the area and first spearheaded the plan for the markers.
The tough terrain of the train makes it challenging for some hikers, Garside said, and can increase the chance for injury. He said there are about a dozen reported injuries to hikers on the trail each year.
He recalled an emergency call on National Trails Day in June 2015, when a man fainted and his wife called 911 to request assistance, but could not identify their location on the trail. The Cold Spring Harbor Fire Department dispatched two ambulances, with one entering the trail at NY 25A and the other entering from Lawrence Hill Road.
The process just wasn’t efficient enough, said Garside, 47, of Huntington. It ultimately led the officer to, in December 2015, write a letter to George Gorman, the parks deputy regional director of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and historic Preservation.
Gorman assigned Leonard Krauss Jr., facilities manager for Caumsett State Historic Park and Cold Spring Harbor State Park, to be in charge of installing 15 markers along the pathway.
“It’s an extensive trail system,” Gorman said. “It’s important to put these markers in place so that if a hiker runs into trouble, they will know where they are when they call an emergency number.”
Each marker, which are assigned a number of 101-115, are given specific longitude and latitude numbers so that emergency personnel can identify a caller’s location on the trail through a GPS system.
This will make emergency response teams more effective, Garside said.
Now we can “quickly and easily match up where they are along the trial and which is the closest marker to easily access them.”
Garside added that properties along NY 24A and Lawrence Hill Road that adjoin the park have been used previously by the fire department to enter the park. Now with the new trail markers, emergency personnel will be able to locate injured persons in relation to the nearest possible entry point.
Garside said the markers, which range between 0.01-0.09 miles in distance from each other, were officially installed on Nov. 28.
In the future, Garside said that the park is going to place a larger map at the trailhead on NY 25A so that park-goers can be informed of the trail makers before entering the path.
In addition, members of the Cold Spring Harbor Fire Department will journey out to the trail this Sunday to determine a primary and a secondary emergency entrance to the trail based on the trail makers and terrain