Monday, September 21, 2009
Odd headline but
9:30 AM Update:
Okay now that I've had my coffee I, sort of, get it.
But since alcohol calls (for service) accounted for half the service requests that means non-alcohol calls also accounted for half.
Therefore they could also have simply used the headline "Emergency Ambulance Calls Strain Amherst Fire Department." Either way it underscores how overburdened our professional department is and how ridiculous it is to waste time thinking about going “all volunteer.”
Since some folks don't have a subscription to the Gazette here's the Comment (and if you do have a subscription and read Gazettenet you have to do a search to find today’s front page print article):
Larry Shaffer strikes again. And before we start complaining about Hadley, Leverett, and Shutesbury calls, remember that is 3 out of 48 calls and the town is billing those patients or their insurance company around $1000 each. That is on top of the flat fee each town pays to have the ambulances on call. Umass and Amherst college are also paying six figures to the town for services. Larry Shaffer wants volunteers to handle this? The guy is dangerous. His total lack of understanding of Public Safety and his value of the almighty dollar over the value of human life is disgusting. He should be ashamed of himself! I do not get how Amherst with 45 firefighters can only have 7 per shift on? If you need to staff 1-2 more men per shift on Thursday-Saturday, that would equate to $1,000 per week for maybe 30 weeks a year. The town would make that back up in Ambulance billing by having its own ambulances respond to the emergencies, instead of a mutual aid ambulance, which then gets to bill for its service and the town collects nothing. Amherst has 5 ambulances. On those weekend nights all 5 should be staffed. It does not make sense that Amherst can value money, so much more than life. Especially money that can be recouped by billing out ambulance service. God forbid there is a house fire or a serious motor vehicle accident with traumatic injuries when the department staff is reduced to zero. The consquences would be catastrophic. To the men and women of the Amherst Fire Department; your work is respected and endlessly appreciated by those of us who know. Be proud of the work you do. Chief Stromgren thank you for standing up for your department.
CBS Ch 3 reports (with a headline that makes perfect sense.)
I'm not sure I get this morning's Gazette front page headline: "Alcohol calls tax Amherst". Maybe they meant "Amherst calls alcohol a tax", or "Alcohol taxes Amherst"?
Either way, it's good to see they are covering stories that happen into the wee hours of Sunday night/morning, although maybe the headline editor needed another cup of coffee.
Of course since the AFD actually issued a public statement Sunday saying they were swamped this weekend and couldn't keep up with ambulance requests--many alcohol related...
Now if citizens really want to lose sleep, imagine what would have happened to your house if a fire broke out while all those firefighters were busy on ambulance runs?