Sunday, October 6, 2013

Lucky 13?

Amherst Fire Department A1 at The Pub late Friday night

The town was lucky Amherst Fire Department had four extra staff to operate two ambulances over the weekend, although I'm sure the thirteen first responders did not feel overly lucky during that bewitching hour (or two) when the gates of Hell creak open, and the all-alcohol-zombie-apocalypse is fully unleashed. 

It started routinely enough at 10:37 PM Friday with an ETOH "college aged" female at Van Meter Dorm UMass.  Then nothing until 11:15 PM, with another ETOH at Pierpont Dorm UMass -- although Dispatch later radioed to the responders she was now "conscious and alert" and the call would probably end up "a refusal."

When UMPD horse patrol told their Dispatch they were "securing their mounts" for the night (around 11:30 PM) because of the rain, I thought maybe that was a good omen -- bad weather cutting down on foot traffic. 


The ambulance that ended up not being needed for an ETOH female was rerouted to another nearby need of a student having a bad reaction to hallucinogenics.  Within minutes that ambulance called for a second ambulance "this location" for a second patient, also overdosing on a hallucinogenic drug.

A fire alarm from the same Van Meter Dorm at 11:53 PM then tied up Engine 1 and Engine 3 just as ETOH calls started pouring in: "A severely ETOH young male at The Pub in downtown Amherst, five minutes later an ETOH young male out on Montague Road in North Amherst, five minutes after that UMPD reports another a student had "consumed 15 shots, was breathing, but unresponsive."

 NFD ambulance, AFD Engine 3 Pierpont Dorm UMass for ETOH student 

At this point fire engines are being dispatched to medical calls to stabilize patients while waiting for an ambulance to arrive and cart them over to Cooley Dickinson Hospital.

Northampton FD and Belchertown FD both respond via mutual aid for ETOH students on the UMass campus.

Dispatch has tried to mobilize reinforcements by sending out a tone requesting the Call Force to report in for "station coverage".

213 Sunset Avenue 12:40 AM

At 12:35 AM a beleaguered ambulance responds to  213 Sunset Avenue, where a large party is taking place, for an ETOH female.

A5 responds directly to the scene after dropping off an ETOH patient at the hospital without the usual "return to quarters" to restock supplies or clean up the ambulance, or do the paperwork associated with the previous call.

 AFD Engine 3 Mass Ave  1:00 AM near Southwest heading to ETOH patient

At 1:00 AM UMPD requests an ambulance for an ETOH student at the bus stop on the corner of Sunset and Mass Avenue.  Engine 3  arrives to render assistance until an ambulance can respond.
The final substance abuse run occurs at 4:23 AM.

And thus ends just another binge "night" in the little college town of Amherst.

Thirteen AFD full-time professional emergency responders, 5 ambulances and 3 fire engines and we still required 2 ambulances from our friends in Northampton and one from Belchertown.

It's all fun and games until desperately waiting -- waiting -- for an ambulance to arrive ... someone dies.
To be continued ...


Walter Graff said...

Sad that the police and fire must be the lifeline for our dysfunctional society. With the latest study showing binge drinking at an epidemic level and another reporting that female binge drinking is heading to places unseen before, its no wonder why the towns first responders are being pushed to the limit.

Boys will be stupid boys and as we always knew and now we are seeing that Cinderella stories don't work for little girls either. They never did for recent past generations that turned into adult girls who found cheating on their marriage and running off destroying their family made them feel "happier"... until they were unhappy again a short time later. Wait till these girls get older. Woman's lib created these monsters when it took a very wrong turn some years ago and now as a result of this and other issues in our society like 70% divorce rates, non-parenting parenting, allowing kids to grow up too fast, and an assortment of other societal ills, female college students are now more likely to binge drink than male students do, according to a new report out of Harvard University.

I was in Panda last night and saw table after table of young kids drinking what looked like 64 ounce decorative bowls of liquor garnished with an umbrella. Is serving ridiculous portions of liquor with large straws to young kids the kind of social acceptance we should be permitting? I know, they are not kids anymore. Problem with the millennials is no one allowed them to be kids when they were kids.

And today we let Miley Cyrus get f$cked on TV and thinks it's okay because it's what young kids do. In many ways it's not these kids fault. You can't blame a sponge for absorbing gasoline.

Anonymous said...

How does the college insurance system work, are students required to have health coverage, are these ambulance services fully compensated? RM

Larry Kelley said...

We do get insurance reimbursement for almost all these runs, so it's not really a financial concern.

Although I doubt we bill extra for the fire engines that arrived first to baby sit the patient until an ambulance could arrive.

Anonymous said...

Why should they bill extra? The fire trucks are already paid for. It's not like they buy them for each run.

Larry Kelley said...

Stupidity requires its own special font.

Anonymous said...

If we had a stupidity font, Graff would be using it every time he makes a comment about women's lib (by the way, it was all women, not just one). Glad to know the guys have nothing to do with the divorce rates or the non-parenting.

Damn, if only we could do away with women entirely, it would be a perfect world, wouldn't it Walter?

Anonymous said...

This is not the students fault. It's the town's fault for not having enough ambulances and drivers. This is the town's industry. They need to have adequate equipment to handle the needs of 30,000 students at all three colleges plus our local residents. It's not like no one is expecting students. We know they are coming. Expecting students not to act like students is wishful thinking.

Walter Graff said...

"This is not the students fault. It's the town's fault for not having enough ambulances and drivers. This is the town's industry. "

No, it is the towns dirty secret. Deny it exists. If you don't have more personnel then you can't say the town has a problem. You can't face the reality that half the towns population is college kids who tend to want to binge drink, cut their wrists, or take illegal drugs. No not all the students but enough to need more than double that emergency staff you have now. You can plant trees and make the town all pretty and ignore one of the dirty little secrets of this town.

Amherst is a town of denial. Where things are black or white and if you ignore things enough maybe they don't exist.

It makes sense that The American Journal of Psychiatry looked at the towns most famous resident and came to the conclusion that she probably suffered from a mental illness known as bipolar disorder. The town seems to have serious shifts in thinking too. That's what happens to a town that locks all the doors and lives in self imposed seclusion from the rest of the world not unlike it's most famous resident.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:58

You could not be more right. It is not the students fault. Students will be students. Everyone knows that. Have all the prevention you want but some young kids is going to do something stupid just to try it.

The fault lies squarely on the State and the University. They keep pushing the population up with no extra funding to the town to deal with it. The taxpayers are getting screwed because the university wants to grow unchecked. This is why we need all of the private off campus housing we can get like the retreat. We need the tax revenue. The university and the state won't lift a finger for Amherst so Amherst better get with the program and generate as much revenue as possible.

The town also needs to keep the revenue out of the hands of our bloated under performing school system and our overpaid administrators. They always cry how poor they are when they have 30% to 40% more money per pupil than any other local schools system. Oh to be fat and greedy in liberal Amherst.

Anonymous said...

Sat night there was a very loud party going on next door to me ,beer bottles and cans all over my lawn ,students (or others ) pissing on my lawn,people wandering in the road and taxi after taxi dropping off more. Called at 11,12,1,and 2 and finally about 2:30 it got quiet. They must of been busy

Anonymous said...

maybe people in the worst areas should invest in those cameras used to catch pictures of animals in the wild. This way we could get some photographic evidence of drunk students pissing on peoples lawns.

The evidence could be posted on a blog or used to have the students arrested for exposing themselves in public. I am sure that would look great on a resume.

Dr. Ed said...

How does the college insurance system work, are students required to have health coverage, are these ambulance services fully compensated?

RM: It's been a few years, but the last time I read the student policy, the Amherst & Hamp Fire Depts were given 100% of what they billed which was unusual -- every other ambulance was given the "reasonable & customary" rate which is where the insurance pays less than the total bill and that's all that is paid as "balance billing' is illegal.

The interesting question with the ambulance/mutual aid runs is who gets to bill -- AFD or the other FD -- or both.

The way it works in Eastern Massachusetts is that the local FD rolls a pumper on all medical calls, and usually a police car as well. They then load the patient into the ambulance (e.g. Lifeline) who transports to the hospital -- and only Lifeline bills -- the FD is not compensated.

Dr. Ed said...

Sad that the police and fire must be the lifeline for our dysfunctional society.

What I tell my friends who are cops is that the police have ALWAYS BEEN that, it probably is their most important role. The County Jail of the 19th and early 20th Century arguably was more of a social service center than penal institution -- we lost that when the "body count" mentality replaced the "this is our town" (Andy Griffith) one.

One of the problems is that LBJ's "Great Society" created a lot of social programs which -- in theory -- took these responsibilities from the police -- but in reality didn't.

And now we train police to be Marines and then expect them to be social workers -- and on top of that, we impose maximum IQ limits -- people considered "too smart" don't get hired.

Stupid all around.

Former UMPD Chief Barbara O'Connor -- then Deputy Chief under Jack Luippold (a really decent guy) made a point to me once that resonates today -- we were both on the Alcohol Task Force.

This was Pre-Gargano when the UMPD arrested a lot fewer students and I said that I didn't think they were making enough arrests. She responded that you really ought not look just at arrests but also ask if the officer was able to resolve the situation so that an arrest wasn't necessary.

This was a public exchange in front of (memory is) the entire task force which is why I don't mind putting it here -- and others might remember it because I don't often immediately change my mind but I did on this and people noticed it.

I also understood (and I think she knew I did) that the number of officers on a shift is finite and while I didn't/don't know how many officers it takes to process an arrest or how long it tskes (I presume at least two), it is a not-insignificant allocation of the finite number of officers that are on duty.

You take at least one cruiser and the guy driving it off the road -- and that means that they aren't a visible deterrent. Likewise, there aren't the officers out there to see things themselves, nor are they available to be dispatched for something else.

A police department also has to pay three costs for an arrest that always immediately apparent. First, they have made an enemy of the person arrested and likely some of his friends -- and Machavelli was quite clear on the costs of making enemies.

Second, much like teachers sending students to the office, the fewer arrests they make, the more significant (serious) each one is viewed by the community.

As I used to explain to RAs, the moral authority of the incident report ("write up") you write is inversely proportional to the number you write. If someone is sending me a dozen a weekend, I'll deal with them, but if someone whom I've never received one from sends me one, I'm going to be asking myself "how obnoxious did this kid have to be for *her* to write him up, as she's never written anyone up before?"

So no matter how minor it is, I'm going to take it very seriously -- the reports that came from an RA who would even go into other dorms and write people up there -- not so seriously.

Third is a combination of the two -- and there is a collective cost to the department. It's how you wind up with jury nullification, officers not being respected and all of that.

So back to my original point -- police are social workers and we need to consider them that.

Dr. Ed said...

With the latest study showing binge drinking at an epidemic level and another reporting that female binge drinking is heading to places unseen before

Walter -- a citation for this, I'd dearly love to read it. I'd worry about variance as a lot of these studies are done by people who aren't exactly objective, and I argue that we need to redefine what constitutes "binge drinking."

Granted, "Binge Drinking" isn't healthy -- neither is smoking or attending Amherst Town Meeting. But there needs to be a category for the kids who go WAY BEYOND the "Binge Drinking" criteria.

In a conversation with a young lady regarding an incident where a young man was urinating in a parking lot (which he claimed not to remember doing), she mentioned that it was common to "black-out" (alcohol-induced memory loss) "at least once a week." She nonchalantly mentioned that she did it, as did lots of her friends.

My jaw dropped. That's not "Binge Drinking" -- not as these anti-alcohol folks define it -- according to them, I can still legally drive after having five drinks (because of my weight).

And this was an intelligent, "good" student -- if they are actually drinking so much, personally and collectively, for "blackouts" to be nonchalantly accepted as routine -- Good Lord!

But Walter, I would like to read that study.

Dr. Ed said...

or used to have the students arrested for exposing themselves in public.


There is a concept known as "reasonable expectation of privacy" and "public exposure" means intentionally exposing one's self knowing that people will see genitalia. Hidden cameras snapping pictures doesn't cut it -- and I'm not so sure that you couldn't get sued if you posted it on a blog.

I remember hearing about a store owner who posted pictures of shoplifters and was successfully sued by someone who had actually been convicted of shoplifting.

But folks -- we desperately need to retain the "reasonable expectation of privacy" standard -- ever hear of an outfit known as the NSA???

Anonymous said...

Ed has gone all Simple Jack on us, again

Dr. Ed said...

Ed has gone all Simple Jack on us, again

Could it be
(a) The fumes from the chemicals he is using to remove 40 years worth of hardened grease from the front end of an antique truck?

(b) Him taking brakes from the dirty & mindless job that he is doing?

Walter --- I would like to read that study though.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Ed:

He's not a lawyer but he plays one on this blog.

Anonymous said...

Interesting Read...

Anonymous said...

While the referenced Fire Engineering article may be interesting, it describes a dangerous and irresponsible policy. This places firefighters into a role that they are neither trained or equipped for. Put bluntly, it places them in danger. This is a police function period. Thankfully, this policy would be illegal in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, as EMS personnel are permitted to transport only to licensed emergency rooms. Transporting to any other type of facility, be it a clinic, doctor's office, urgent care center, police station, or even the person's own home is completely illegal. Such an actions can and have ended in VERY costly lawsuits for both the service and individual providers involved. Additionally, EMTs and Paramedics in this and most states are prohibited from transporting any patient against their will except in certain, very specific, circumstances. I hope this sheds some light on the article as it may or may not pertain to AFD.

Jeff Parr
Amherst Firefighters
IAFF Local 1764