Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Help Delayed = Dangerzone

Main Street/South Whitney Friday 5:00 PM 10/14/11

Welcome Reddit/UMass readers. Click the "nuisance house" tag for the cavalcade of party house winners over the past year
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God help Amherst residents should a medical emergency or fire have happened last Saturday night around 10:00 PM; sure, Northampton FD would have arrived...eventually.

Rowdy student behavior doesn't just keep residents awake on weekends--it also squanders the precious resources of the Amherst Fire Department. And it's not like UMass has a fire department of its own.

The Mullins Center, owned by UMass, so a tax exempt entity, hosted a giant party on Saturday night in the form of Deadmau5 a DJ "artist" who mixes music and probably plays it loud enough to garner a $300 noise ticket if he were playing on Meadow Street or Hobart Lane.

The AFD wisely based an ambulance and paramedic crew on scene and, sure enough, they handled eight cases (alcohol related) thus avoiding a costly trip in time to the Cooley Dickinson Hospital, where the average turn around for handling a single drunk student (once they get there) is an hour, more like an hour-and-a-half if blood, vomit or other body fluids spill inside the ambulance.

Meanwhile between 9:16 PM and 11:50 PM four more cases of ETOH (too much alcohol) required transport to the hospital, thus depleting the cavalry should Fort Amherst require assistance. You know, the normal working person who pays property taxes to help finance our $4 million Fire/EMS system.

Yes, the student call force (for fire calls only) and one professional firefighter to supervise were available, but if your most precious asset was in imminent danger--is that the response you expect?

Update/correction: UMass does pay a fee (like hiring police for a traffic detail) for the extra ambulance assigned to the Mullins Center for special occasions.
The UMass Daily Collegian reports (the fines are working!)

Just another typical weekend for AFD

AFD reports

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow.. Blurry pic. be careful taking pics WHILE driving.. or YOU could the one waiting for Northampton EMS for an AVOIDABLE accident....

Ree Al Ity

LarryK4 said...

Yeah a nice officer was directing traffic at the time, so no worries.

Two days later I did witness an accident in town center where a driver was trying to take a picture of the clash between Occupy Amherst and the Tea Party folks.

Anonymous said...

Does the Mullins Center pay for the EMS to be there? If not, why not? If you use an officer to direct traffic, you have to pay him/her ...

LarryK4 said...

Nahhhh, they're UMass--the largest employer in Western Massachusetts; A leviathan that provides Amherst businesses with tens of thousands of customers and keeps the slumlords fat and happy.

We should kneel down every morning and thank a Higher Power for their very presence.

LarryK4 said...

Sorry, my evil twin took over for a minute there.

Actually the insurance company or Mommy/Daddy will pay for the ambulance trips from the Mullins Center to the hospital.

And UMass does pay the town a low amount annually as a retainer to cover fire/ambulance. Nothing for police however.

But come to think of it, that "strategic agreement" expires next year...

Anonymous said...

So when AFD details an ambulance to a Mullins event, which means overtime for the extra crew, Mullins doesn't pay for it??? I always thought they did. Man, if I'm paying for that I'm ticked!

LarryK4 said...

Open your nearest window and shout (in the general direction of UMass) "I'm mad as Hell and I'm not going to take it any more!"

If just one of you does it, they will think your weird, and if only two do it, they will think they're gay, but if THREE people do it, it's a movement.

Anonymous said...

oh my god, if there was an emergency in my neighborhood, there would have been no one to help at all, everyone was at the hospital or helping drunk people at the giant party at the mullins center. thanks for exposing this larry.

LarryK4 said...

No problem. My family lives here too.

Anonymous said...

'cause the mullins center isn't in MY neighborhood... i don't even listen to deadmau5. that big party happened in THEIR n'hood, thus depleting OUR men and women in uniform. atrocious.

i hope no one in MY n'hood sold them all that liquor!

Anonymous said...

Compounding the problem with student alcohol adventures is the ongoing problem with simple geography involving Fire Department response times to certain parts of Amherst. Town Meeting has been made aware of this for, oh, only about 10-20 years, but we, the residents of Amherst, continue to whistle past the graveyard through our elected "representatives". Actually, most residents are blissfully unaware of the problem.

Life in Amherst: in the immortal words of the Regional SC Chair. we tend to think that "if we ignore it, it will go away." As with the problem with mass student rowdyness, someone will have to die to make the point.

Anonymous said...

I thought that the Mullins center did pay the fire department to have an ambulance detailed at concerts... maybe I am thinking of something differ, Larry, your information may be better than mine.

Either way, it is not an excuse for how busy the firefighters here in Amherst are doing stupid trips with stupid kids. They should be in the station waiting for real emergencies.

Why not hire the ambulance service that used to cover Northampton to put a few trucks over here on busy weekend nights? Keep our firefighters in the station waiting for the taxpayers. (Keeping in mind that off campus kids are also, indirectly, tax payers)

Is there a different rate or surcharge the town can bill for out-of-towners on campus (tax exempt campus)? Or should folks who live in town get a price break?

Anonymous said...

Honestly, you really should consider the risks of living in Amherst before choosing to live here. What do you expect when 25,000 students are finally independent for the first time in their lives? They are going to experiment and try knew things. That is how lessons are learned. College students are in the process of self-discovery and obviously there will be cases when people over indulge themselves. It is part of growing up. This is the society we live in, I am sorry if you never before experienced this. UMASS is just like any other big public college, and it should not be a surprise the risks involved living with 25,000+ 18-25 year olds all around you. If you hate living in Amherst so much, there are towns surrounding the Pioneer Valley without such problems.

Anonymous said...

I heard the atrocious DJ "music" pounding at my house. I saw students dragging kegs into rentals simultaneously. UMass - the ultimate hypocrites.

Why exactly is UMass allowed to disturb the peace, when this is against the law in Amherst? No wonder students act like wild animals. UMass sets this example from the top down.

Anonymous said...

Interesting Daily Collegian article, Larry. Sure wish I, a middle-aged married parent working full-time, had $50 to blow on alcohol every single week - let alone the time to drink it.

These teenagers don't care if they throw away $2,400 annually on alcohol, nor do they care that their arrests or confessions are published on Google for the world - and for future employers - to see. Good luck getting a job, Josh Fitzmaurice.

Taylor said...

This was actually not that busy of a weekend. Even if you include the 8 additional calls handled by the detail crew. There have been numerous weekends when the number of Fire and EMS calls are in the 70 plus range and the mutual aid ambulances needed can be 5 or more.

During the daytime Amherst is also dangerously understaffed. Multiple times this Fall during the daytime, 911 callers have had to wait 25-30 minutes for ambulances to arrive from Northampton or Belchertown.

It is not just Friday and Saturday nights. The Fire Department staffing levels have been ignored for years by the town. They are lowest in the state per number of emergency responses. A town as enlightened as Amherst, values human life so low that it has allowed its staffing level to fall to a state worst. $450,000 per year is what it would take to add the needed 8 additional firefighter/paramedics. Amherst has decided that amount of money is not worth saving a life. This would be $70 per Amherst taxpayer, but before going directly to the taxpayer, there needs to be a revaluation of budget priorities and a continued push to garner funding for Fire/EMS from the 3 colleges. A little more money from each institution would be a far cheaper alternative for them than forming their own Fire/Ems organization.

Anonymous said...

You fail to mention that the town gets paid, and so do the police for every trip to the hospital. If suddenly the Umass students became the sober, responsible group you all seem to expect, all those fees would be gone.

Read: cuts in personnel

I think anyone who complains about living in a college town should move. It's really that simple.

Anonymous said...

Very, very well said Taylor.

Anonymous said...

Larry, you my friend are one of the biggest losers on the face of the earth. College kids drink. Get over it. U did it and so did everyone else when they were in college. U complain about Umass students making noise off campus, so Umass gives the student and on campus option far from residents neighborhoods and you still complain. There was no alcohol at this concert what so ever. Students were patted down on the way in and nothing was served there. It seems to me as a standard resident of Amherst I would be happy that Umass allowed an event to keep students on campus and out of the residential neighborhood. But yet u complain that firemen and EMTs are doing there jobs helpin out students in need. Ur pathetic. Once u either move out of town/ or realize there is a university with 30000 students in this small town u will understand. Until then write your stupid blogs bc u will not change anything u r just a loser

Anonymous said...

Every other community in America with universities with 25,000+ students has similar problems with mass partying and noise???

Prove it.

No, what we're stuck in is a "can you top this?" syndrome involving who can push the envelope further from one year at UMass to the next. This is not about rites of passage, or experimentation, or any other such crap.

Anonymous said...

Why do you even have this blog up?
What purpose does this serve? There is a police log in the paper and online so people can see this stuff. You're not making it the situation any better for anyone. People can find this information if they want to else where, and you're just hurting students reputations that they need in the future. Do you think that these kids don't deserve to have a good name because of these actions? Do you seriously think that everyone who throws/attends parties are criminals and a threat. Sure some kids cause trouble when they drink but not all the trouble in the world is caused by people under the influence of drugs. Not to mention you solely base this on incidences related to UMass. What about the people of Amherst and surrounding communities? Do you not think that they are to blame for some of the outrageous activity that goes on? Why do you single out the names of UMass kids that while trying to get a degree to make a living want to have fun too? You're just hurting there chances at future jobs. I don't know if I'm wasting my time because you have to "approve" of this message for anyone to see it but I hope it kicks some sense into you and you see that your website literally does positive for anyone. It has a neutral effect on anyone not mentioned because this website doesn't help them do anything, and it has a negative effect on anyone whose name you have mentioned.

Anonymous said...

Deadmau5 is god you fucking twit - Vito

Anonymous said...

Larry didn't ruin these kids reputations, they did it all by themselves.

Anonymous said...

I think it's really worth considering having a private abbulance service in Amherst.

When Northampton had one, the firefighters were free to answer fire calls. A much smaller force was able to cover a larger city.

And it cost NOTHING to the city. NFD insisted on getting into the ambulance business because it enriches the firefighters. Since they went to their own ambulance service, staffing levels and quality levels of personnel on call are diminished. And, it costs and costs.

Anonymous said...

"you're just hurting students reputations that they need in the future. Do you think that these kids don't deserve to have a good name because of these actions?"

Here's what I think: Ain't no such thing as a free lunch. If these kids want to party to the point of causing riots, then they should all prepared to handle the consequences.

Trust me, Larry Kelley will outlast all of you. Maybe it's time to think about growing up and learning how to party without having a riot.

Just a thought. I'm sure you know what's best.

Taylor said...

I would like to respond the Anon at 9:29. Fire Department ambulance services do not enrich firefighters. Northampton went to a fire based service because of serious issues of service by its private contractors including a lack of ambulances in the city, a lack of professionalism while in-service, and the instances where calls for service were not responded to without explanation. Amherst generates 2.5 million dollars per year in ambulance billing. That revenue would all disappear and it represents 59% of the Fire Department's operating budget. You could not operate a Fire Department without EMS with that reduced level of funding, so how do you propose gaining the additional funds? The town is not going to support spending more money for less service, it won't support spending for more service right now. Also, no private ambulance service is going to base the 4-5 ambulances needed in the town. It might base 2 here and then the calls for additional service would have to be sent out of town, meaning even more long waits for emergency help. Amherst Firefighters do not get any additional money from responding to emergency medical calls.

Anonymous said...

If I had a kid who turned up as a second offender, I would drag his ass home and put him on a one-semester sabbatical where he would have to find a job. You say I can't drag his ass home? I would cut off the money supply.

Which raises the question: are there parents who think this is all ok?

Anonymous said...

@ anon 10/20 105pm: The cops dont get paid for the ambu runs... another ignorant poster.. you may be thingking of S. Hadley YEARS ago as their officers used to man the ambulance but not anymore... now they get a stipend if they remain an EMT...or so I heard.

We have grossly undermanned &/or understaffed fire and police departments. They are hopping for 9+ months a year while cape cod departments are busy 3+ months a year... but they are almost double the size of ours to account for the increases. Year round population figures are similar (look @ Yarmouth..Dennis... Barnsatble)

The MOST educated town in the commonwealth can't work that out? If my south amherst family home cannot be reached in time by fire or cops when I need them due to drunken antics tying up resources and the town refusal to explore avenues or properly fund these agencies....then I hope they have a real ggod insurance policy or @ least a civil atty

Unless I'm the dead one

Anonymous said...

"It might base 2 here"."

Sounds good, why don't they base two trucks here for primary 911 and then the amherst firefighters can do backup. Keep them in the station for longer.