Monday, February 6, 2012

Busy Super Bowl weekend for AFD

Hobart Lane's much maligned dumpster

Not to confuse anyone with the headline, because the on-campus revelry did not seem to add much of a burden to the Amherst Fire Department above and beyond their "normal" hectic routine for weekends in a "college town."

The dumpster at Hobart Lane, scene of 30 previous fires before a perp was recently bagged red handed (currently no longer enrolled at UMass) was again the scene of wasteful, destructive fires late Friday and Sunday evenings. As Chief Nelson points out, when AFD responds to such a nuisance fire that ties up resources so they can't respond instantly to a "real" emergency.

And notice once again a cluster of ETOH (passed out drunk) calls late Friday early Saturday once again tied up ALL our on-duty resources, leaving the entire town (and regional towns who rely on our EMS) under the protection of the volunteer Student Force.

And in spite of their impressive capabilities, not a super situation.

7 comments:

Cowardly Anon said...

I understand the problem, but why hasn't AFD assigned more on duty ambulances, or sought a way to hedge ambulance dispatches? I am not sure of the equipment, but my home town growing up had several SUV's designed to evaluate situations that repeatedly occurred such as drinking, etc. (Though the private college had more coke-overdoses than ETOH).

LarryK4 said...

Because they are understaffed. It takes 2 to staff an ambulance and they normally have 7 professionals on duty, thus three ambulances.

If they know it's going to be busy (concert at Mullins Center for instance) they bring in a couple more (which I believe is overtime) to potentially staff another ambulance, or firetruck as the case may be.

Cowardly Anon said...

Fair, it would be nice to see more brave students give back to their community via volunteering. The school should offer a credit incentive to students in such line of work.

Ed said...

Don't underplay dumpster fires -- short only of a car fire, they can be the most dangerous fires you fight because you have no idea what is IN the dumpster (nor did the perp who lit it) and something like a half full can of spray paint or even shaving cream (they use a form of propane as propellant now) can explode complete with the can becoming shrapnel.

Not to mention all the funky chemical reactions that can happen with heat nor some of the fun (read: deadly) chemicals you can have in the smoke as a result.

It may be cute to light one of these on fire, but putting it out is deadly serious business...

Dale said...

At some point the dumpster needs to be removed, and the tenants will be responsible for their own trash removal. This solution seems all to simple though. Can we get the town to organize a committee to investigate this, or better yet hire an outside advisor to access possible solutions!

Cowardly Anon said...

I don't think a town committee needs to review this, just set the dumpster further away and out of the main area. Then the main reason for lighting it (to impress the crowds) will be diminished a bit. It just takes logic beforehand. If it persists, just remove the dumpster!

Ed said...

Dumpster is required by code.

Landlord is responsible for trash disposal. Now as to making him empty it daily, so there is nothing to burn, that would work...