Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Busy As Ever

If only your personal investment portfolio went up like this

Last year call volume handled by the Amherst Fire Department went up 3.64% ... which may not sound like a lot, but when you are already running beyond capacity it becomes a bigger burden.  Like adding a few teaspoons of water to a glass already filled to the brim.  

A patchwork measure of adding extra staffing on weekends paid for by UMass/Amherst -- AFD's number one client (after the town itself) certainly helped, but even then a mutual aid ambulance had to be called 49 times --almost once per week.

Meaning if you or your loved one had an emergency requiring quick transport to a hospital, you would have to wait until an ambulance from a surrounding community managed to find you.

And yes the new contract just signed by the town and Union 1764 allows for a minimum staffing of 8 on duty personnel when the schools are in session; but a ten year old town study recommended 9 minimum on duty by Fiscal Year 2005.  And just look at the lead graph above to see how call volumes have increased since then.

Total calls (medical and fire): 5,690, or an average of 16 per day

Sure "substance abuse" (drunk) runs to our Colleges and UMass get a lot of press -- as well they should, since it is 100% preventable -- but they only make up 10% of total medical emergencies.  The top two are still classic emergencies that you expect trained professionals to handle, "general medical" (for an aging population) and "trauma."

The town has been negligent with public safety departments for a generation now. 

Central Station is long past due for replacement (that too from another town study done in 2006) and the current staffing problem is a disaster waiting to happen.  As in a major structure fire in one part of town while four ambulances are tied up over the far flung five towns the AFD serves. 

Help delayed is help denied.


Anonymous said...

So which is going to come first: world peace or a new South Amherst fire station?

Larry Kelley said...

The town certainly puts more effort into world peace.

Anonymous said...

No one who runs this town sees the huge bumps in the carpet but everyone else does.

Anonymous said...

That's always the way it's perceived by people who don't step up and help run the show.

Dr. Ed said...

Sure "substance abuse" (drunk) runs to our Colleges and UMass get a lot of press -- as well they should, since it is 100% preventable

Larry, that is a very dangerous attitude -- on three levels.

First, it is a very slippery slope when you say that things could have been prevented. "Single mothers" come to mind, and if they hadn't done one specific thing, they'd not have become pregnant, would they?

What was the cause of the fire that destroyed your abode some years back? Whatever it was, it technically was "preventable." And if people just didn't drive motor vehicles, we wouldn't have accidents...

Second, we really don't want to discourage legitimate medical calls, including ETOH/Drug ones. People can and do die -- Jimmi Hendrix, John Balushi, etc.

I don't know the medical severity of the average ETOH/Drug run, but the same sort of thing can be said of any of the AFD runs, e.g. transporting victims of vehicular accidents. I suspect that in both cases, a lot of the runs are nonchalantly routine, some are desperate "white-knuckle" attempts to keep someone alive, and a few are the former which suddenly (and quite unexpectedly) become the latter.

Every EMS person I have ever met has quietly admitted that they'd gladly get called out nine times when they really weren't needed just to get called ten minutes earlier the tenth time -- to have those ten extra minutes when they could have done something. When the DOA wouldn't have been DOA because it's 10 minutes too late.

We don't want people not making 911 calls that ought to be made, do we?

Which goes to my third point -- and this, Larry, is something that you, personally, are making worse. It's what the Amethyst Project was attempting to address -- and those who killed it bear responsibility for what they have accomplished as a result.

Do not presume that the students who drink do so intending to wind up in the ER -- no more than the students who go skiing do so intending to wind up impaled on a tree. Relative to the number of students who are consuming alcohol, relative to the volume of alcohol collectively consumed, the number of AFD transports is really quite low.

It's the same point I have made regarding the APD -- while no one has ever given me a definitive number of exactly how many cells are in the APD station, and/or the absolute number of prisoners they can hold -- it's a really small number relative to the number of students at UMass.

Conservatives are mocked for saying that an aspirin can prevent pregnancy -- if a woman keeps an aspirin tablet between her knees (i.e. doesn't have sex), she won't get pregnant.

If a man & women get married before creating children, and stay married, the odds are that they neither will be living in poverty nor be needing public assistance. This is a statistical fact -- and hence, by your argument, poverty also is "100% preventable."

Larry, it's the same thing as saying that if kids didn't drink, the AFD wouldn't have to haul a few of them across the river -- so are you going to blame the single mothers for the financial burden THEY create?

The fact that we are willing to rescue people from their own poor choices says more about us than them. We don't go to a battered woman and say "hey, you decided to marry him (or date him), sucks to be you" -- no, we help her. And likewise, we help the drunken kid. It's who WE are as a people -- a concept that the mASSgop does not understand...

Dr. Ed said...

One other thing -- of my many differences with Dean Enku Gelaye and her people, even above and beyond ethical issues (e.g. not lying to students), is a philosophical disagreement on empowering students to seek help in potentially life-threatening situations.

Take, for example, the drunken student. The student could die without medical attention -- it's not likely but possible. More importantly, the average 19-year-old (even sober) doesn't know enough to tell if this is a real emergency or if the person likely will be OK.

At this point, there are "two paths in the woods" -- the are mutually exclusive and the 19-year-olds can only go down one. They can call other 19-year-olds and such, but eventually they have to do one of two things:

A: Tell "them" -- seek advice/help.

B: Don't tell "them" and hide the kid somewhere "they" won't find him/her/it.

Sometimes there is a trusted older person whom they can call -- and I intervened in a lot more situations than people realized -- and could because it was known that I wouldn't tell the university *anything* -- and because I have honor, I honored (honor) that promise. But usually, it's either "A" or "B."

It also doesn't help that the concept of "don't trust anyone over thirty" is back -- except now I don't think they really trust anyone over the age of 22 or so. That's reality.

And then when they know that they will get into trouble as the result of seeking assistance, they simply won't do it.

That's why you simply can not punish kids for having been transported to CDH by AFD, as Enku now does. Worse, you can't punish their friends -- that's why you need a REAL "Good Samritan Policy" which essentially needs to be "Anything we learn that we otherwise wouldn't have we won't use -- for anything."

It's not just what Enku (and ACT) are doing -- you have to make it clear that you not only won't do that but can't. Otherwise, you'll have dead kids.

Enku, you are going to eventually have a dead student as a direct result of what you are doing...

Dr. Ed said...

No, I am going to tell this story -- and realize that I have to change a few of the facts due to both the nature of it and FERPA -- and it did NOT occur at UMass.

1: 19-year-old female student has a keg of beer in her room, in violation of lots of rules.

2: She and others consume the contents of said keg and depart to their respective rooms in the dormitory. (She does not have a roommate.)

3: A male student proceeds to rape her. (There is no question on anything, it very much is "rape.")

4: The male student tells the female student that if she reports the rape, he'll report her keg.

5: The IHE's rather obtuse alcohol policy stipulates that the minimum sanction is a semester exclusion from all campus activities except attending scheduled academic classes.

6: The male student had quite a bit of influence on campus. A "his word" versus "her word" situation.

7: The female student's female friends will also all be in trouble for attending the party -- and will blame her for being in trouble.

The next morning, the entire matter came to the attention of a then-younger campus administrator whose name was similar to mine -- in part because there was even more to this situation -- and I do believe that justice was served.

This is an extreme example, but it is why I do not want to have college policies that -- in any way -- punish students for anything that the institution wouldn't have known about but for some student "doing the right thing."

And Enku, above and beyond the ethical issues, of which there are many, REQUIRING a student to receive psychological treatment as a judicial sanction is a punishment!

Anonymous said...

Ed is veering back into that territory where he goes way off topic and starts talking a lot about SI swimsuit issues idden away in a boiler room (on another thread), and "not having sex", and rape scenarios that he has obviously made up. And he was doing so well.

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing that writing these blog comments helps him with some kind of masturbatory fantasy: the imaginary damsel in sexual distress seeks him out and pour her heart out to him. Whatever floats your boat, but too bad we have to be subjected to his ickiness.

Anonymous said...

Ed you are clueless. If they dont drink to excess they won't get drunk. 100% preventable.

Dr. Ed said...

Ed is veering back into that territory where he goes way off topic and starts talking a lot about SI swimsuit issues idden away in a boiler room (on another thread), and "not having sex", and rape scenarios that he has obviously made up.

No, none of it was "made up" -- although if this is what I will be accused of, then I don't have a problem writing about the she who demanded we call her a "he" and the rest of the true insanity that is Amherst.

Oh, and yes, I guess a lot of the single mothers on welfare got pregnant from sitting on the toilet -- is that what we are supposed to believe?

Anonymous said...

Oh, nooooooooo! Ed's gonna write about the she who was called "he"! He'll push Chris Christie, Robert Gates, and everyone else right off the front page.

Ed, you'll be sure to let us know when you actually write something besides a blog comment, right? Holding my breath in anticipation...

The Evil Dr. Ed said...

Ed, you'll be sure to let us know when you actually write something besides a blog comment, right?

I've already been published, MoFo.

And no, I'm not going to tell you by whom or how much I got paid. (Or in some cases, what my "pen name" was.)

Fire Truck you all, every last one of you. I don't have the ethical issues anymore, I can now write the "red meat" stuff that folks have been wanting me to.

The Evil Dr. Ed said...

If they dont drink to excess they won't get drunk. 100% preventable

As are MVAs caused by driving too fast on icy roads, slip/fall injuries in the home, transports of sick people to the hospital (they should have gone earlier on their own), and -- arguably -- absolutely everyone else whom the AFD assists.

Likewise, fires are preventable -- with the possible exception of lightning strikes, exactly what fire didn't result from someone either doing something imprudent, or failing to do something prudent? And thus, if they only hadn't/had done it, there would have been no fire -- also 100% preventable.

And the difference is?

The Evil Dr. Ed said...

If they dont drink to excess they won't get drunk. 100% preventable

My point is that we intentionally ignore this for the greater human value of saving their lives.

It says something about us and not them, it says something about our cultural values and the rest.

I've gone out onto the ocean, sometimes at no small risk to my own safety, to help rescue people who were in trouble because of some incredibly stupid things they had done.

In some cases, stupid beyond our comprehension of stupidity -- like the guy who sailed his sailboat right up onto a ledge with a lighthouse on it. Calm night, almost full moon, really big lighthouse -- when he rattled off his LORANS numbers (pre-GPS) only once as part of his frantic MayDay, we figured those numbers couldn't possibly be right because that was the lighthouse.

So we sent the first boat to the ledge we though he'd hit -- this was just after Hurricane Bob and the bouy was over a mile from where it was supposed to be, and we could understand someone hitting Bantam, but no, he'd actually hit the lighthouse....

It says something about us, not about the idiots we are going out after -- and what I'm afraid of is if we start saying that they aren't worth it. That's what I'm afraid of -- and it very quickly gets into the concept of "useless eaters" and a lot of other rather nasty things.