Monday, February 25, 2013


So in addition to all the dangerously drunk (ETOH) college aged youth AFD and ambulances from four surrounding towns transporting to the Cooley Dickinson Hospital from the Tiesto concert at the Mullins Center Thursday night, the weekend did not go much better when it comes to all things alcohol.

   AFD Weekend late Feb by  

Two * calls had to be handled by mutual aid ambulances

Amherst Fire Department transported 9 patients (out of a total of 11 EMS calls) from UMass to the local hospital because of alcohol abuse. Of course UMass will cite all their survey statistics to show binge drinking is going down or "72% of UMass students support the campus alcohol policies."

Put that on the gravestone of the next kid to die from alcohol related abuse.


Dr. Ed said...

Larry -- you are missing the bigger point on that concert -- that the medical calls went beyond ETOH to one involving a head injury that required a run to Bay State.

I'm guessing that alcohol and/or other substances were a contributory cause to both this and the other injuries of other parties (e.g. lacerations), but that the AFD - being professional - are going to deal with the most serious injury first and a head injury can be fatal.

Past Mullins Center events (e.g. the infamous Black Out involved kids merely needing medical attention because of intoxication. This time they also were getting injured -- I don't know how seriously although a run bypassing CDH and going to Bay State speaks for itself.

This is worse. Worse in terms of the well-being of the young people, worse in terms of the load on the AFD both in terms of actual time (it takes longer to drive to Springfield) and staff fatigue.

Anonymous said...

What puzzles me is that concert promoters aren't required as a part of the deal, to provide at least a half dozen in service professional ambulances to cover these events. I can only guess that there are plenty of private fully licensed ambulance companies that would be eager to bid on these events.

John Edwards

Dr. Ed said...

I agree with John Edwards -- and I again state that if AFD is being overtaxed by these events, then they should not be the ones given the paid detail.

There may be union rules but if these Mullins Events overwhelm the AFD to the extent it appears they do, someone needs to put public safety ahead of guys getting much-desired overtime.

The solution is simple, you bring in Lifeline or one of the other companies with a half dozen ambulances and they are designated to be the primary responders to any injuries at the event, with AFD only rolling if (a) all the private companies ambulances are in use, and/or (b) the injury needs a higher level of medical care than the private company can provide (i.e. "paramedic" versus "EMT" and such).

For some reason the only ambulances other than AFD that have been brought in (on paid detail) in the past have been those of other fire departments, such as the Westfield Fire Dept. Is there some reason why Mullins has to hire a fire department and can't hire a private ambulance company?

Anonymous said...

You're missing the fact that the fire department gets paid for each of these transports. This is good business for them. Firefighter here

Anonymous said...

Let me begin by saying that I've been involved with EMS for 26 years. Prior to coming to AFD in 2003 I had extensive experience with planning and running large scale events of many different types. These have included concerts such is this, up to and including some of the largest incidents that have occurred in this country. The issue isn't whether or not the Fire Department should or should not receive the paid detail. The issue, as Mr. Edwards points out, is that it should be the responsibility of the concert promoter, the Mullins Center management, and the university to provide adequate ambulances for the anticipated patient load. We need to keep in mind these are PLANNED EVENTS and it’s not our first rodeo. We know that these types of events have a history of producing a large number of patients and can very rapidly overwhelm the on duty AFD shift and the EMS resources in the surrounding area. As the primary EMS provider for the town and the campus, AFD should certainly have a role in managing the event from a medical standpoint. However AFD cannot provide more than one ambulance to transport, we simply do not have the resources (vehicles) to do so. The proper way to staff this event would have been to place several AFD members along with the students from UMASS EMS at the event to asses, triage, and begin treatment, and have a fleet of at least 5 dedicated ambulances to transport the patients. These ambulances could be hired from other fire departments (there was one ambulance from Westfield Fire hired for this event by the way) or from a private ambulance company, or even a combination of the two. Once the above described resources were in place, a perimeter would be established. This could be the confines of the building itself, the building and the parking lots, or some imaginary line around the Mullins Center. Any medical call within this perimeter after a pre-designated time would be handled by the dedicated resources from the event. If all dedicated ambulances were committed and a CRITICAL patient was encountered by the on-site medical staff, an ambulance from AFD would be requested to respond. Non critical patients could be held in a triage/treatment area and monitored until one of the dedicated transport units returned. This operation would continue until a time after the even when the incident commander determined that the crowd had dispersed and patients were no longer being encountered. In many cases the resources are released in a staggered manner as the frequency of patient encounters decreases. The bottom line is that there is no reason that these planned events should impact the "on duty" shift at AFD which is already seriously understaffed. All of this is my own personal opinion of course and is based on my personal experience with both planned and unplanned large scale incidents. I do not speak for AFD or Local 1764 on this.

Jeff Parr

Larry Kelley said...

Well said. Amen!