Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Public Nuisance

Mullins Center: A giant drain on Amherst public safety

Last Thursday night for a three hour period all five Amherst ambulances were stuck in a continuous loop between the UMass Mullins Center, a state owned entertainment venue, and the Cooley Dickinson Hospital, transporting 14 drug or alcohol overdose "victims," leaving AFD helpless to protect the town against medical emergencies requiring an ambulance.

These days the AFD is busy enough as it is.

Two months ago when the Mullins Center hosted a Rusko concert the results were almost as bad, with 8 patient transports in a very short period tying up all five ambulances.

This Saturday Amherst, UMass and State Police are on high alert for end of semester party hijinks.  Extravaganja, extolling the virtues of marijuana, is expected to attract 5,000 pot patrons to the town common.  Ominously, the Mullins Center is once again promoting a "performance"--Fantazia-- that appears to be tailor made to produce drug and alcohol overdoses.

A "360 degree dance experience" means folks will be engaged in physical exertion, combined with a tad too much alcohol or drugs in a warm venue under pulsating lights can quickly lead to medical problems.  

AFD will have 9 professional firefighters on during the day (normal staffing is 7) increased to 11 as darkness descends (three of them stationed at the Mullins Center) with an additional medic riding along with APD. Chief Nelson and Assistant Chief's Stromgren and McKay will also be hovering.

Still, the centre may not hold.

Terrifying enough we routinely play Russian roulette with a single round in the chamber, on Saturday night there may be as many as three.  Click, click...

10 comments:

Fire in the Hole said...

I am glad to see the fire department is finally staffing more, I do not see the same games for them as I do the police recently which is strange.

LarryK said...

It's only a one night thing and the extra staffing is via "overtime". Their budget is about busted, so it can't happen again.

Anonymous said...

Let's say good-bye to the yearly drug fest on the town common and cheerfully pass it along to another witless town. What is the select board thinking? How do they reconcile this with the anti-drug message carefully taught in the schools?

Anonymous said...

And if it is sponsored by a Umass club, why isn't it at Umass? Let them deal with it!

Ed said...

The Mullins Center is PRIVATELY managed -- by a division of Comcast, I am told. And they aren't letting the UM kids in there for free, trust me.

So where is the money going, and if there is this drain on AFD resources, why isn't there a requirement that they hire a few private ambulances. There are other companies that provide this service.

Anonymous said...

there do hire other ambulances ed, pay attention.

Anonymous said...

The student force is in service 24 hrs/ day over the weekend and nights during the week, staffing a full Engine Company. I'm curious why you fail to mention the student and call components of the department when they are clearly vital to the department, providing town coverage and responding to emergencies until mutual aid EMS or an Amherst EMS unit can clear and handle the call. In fact, many of these students are EMTs, capable of providing BLS level care until an ALS unit can arrive. Is this ideal? Of course not, but failing to mention this component of the department is distorting the situation.

LarryK said...

Clearly I was talking about ambulance service.

And even IF the students or call force could staff one (which they can't) we would still come up short, because the town only has 5 ambulances available.

Ed said...

If they only have 5 ambulances, when are they doing the maintenance on them? And what happens if they wreck one, as they HAVE done in the past. Has anyone thought of where they are going to borrow one from if, say, the transmission falls out of one of them?

Anonymous said...

Did anyone notice how PACKED the retail establishments in town were yesterday? I wonder if anyone has an estimate as to how much "out-of-town" cash landed here yesterday.

I couldn't even get CLOSE to my favorite burrito establishment!