Saturday, September 6, 2014

Hot Child In The City (Running Wild ... )

North Pleasant Street near UMass 12:43 AM

So yes, as with much of rowdy student behavior the weather -- sunny, hot and clear -- was a contributing factor in the mayhem unleashed in the Friday overnight.

But I have to assume that all the "college aged youth" transported to the hospital during the overnight had plenty of days in their own hometown like yesterday .. pretty much all summer long.

 AFD @ Washington Dorm (freshmen housing) 11:15 PM for intoxicated male

But mix in the first weekend or two of being away from parental supervision for the first time in their lives, and throw together many thousands in that same ark (without benefit of Noah) and you have a volatile reaction bordering on explosive.

Around 12:40 PM a cyclist was down in the center of the road on busy North Pleasant Street which cuts through the heart of campus, unconscious and barely breathing.

Original reports stated a car vs bicyclist, hit and run.  But upon investigation, although the cyclist may have been trying to avoid a car, he was not hit by a vehicle, only the center of the road.

With his head. And he was not wearing a helmet.

 AFD @ UMass Visiters Center parking lot for intoxicated male 12:04 AM

Now pay attention:  Due to call volume -- MOST of it alcohol related -- an ambulance had to be dispatched from Northampton Fire Department (2nd one within an hour), thus causing a delay for his transport to Baystate Critical Care unit in Springfield.

Yes, AFD Engines 1 and 2 were on the scene sooner (Engine 1 running at paramedic level and Engine 2 first on scene operating at "first responder level"), so he had good care from AFD ... but with a serious head injury you really need the level of care provided by a trauma unit ASAP.

AFD on scene Kennedy Dorm (freshmen housing) for intoxicated 17 year old female 12:12 AM

In all AFD had to rely on "mutual aid" ambulances five times during those bewitching hours before and after midnight.  All them dispatched to UMass, our flagship of higher education.

Meanwhile, Amherst taxpayers are left holding the bag:  In the short term, for an ambulance to arrive from a surrounding town for a family emergency; and in the l-o-n-g term for town officials to finally step up and properly staff our Public Safety Departments. 

APD on scene large Frat party North Pleasant Street 12:30 AM


Anonymous said...

Larry-I am not being critical of the AFD. They work their butt off in a non stop, stress-filled environment. But someone needs to ask why they are not staffing a 6th ambulance? If they had been, that head trauma patient would not have had to wait for NFD to transport. If they can staff 2 engines to respond to the incident including 1 at the paramedic level, then they could be staffing another paramedic ambulance, which can transport, unlike the engine. They did staff a 6th last spring, but took that truck out of service. When the new FY 15 ambulance arrives, the oldest ambulance should be kept as a 6th staffed ambulance for Fall and Spring weekends. The staffing is there to do it and the necessary equipment is already on board Engine 1. Someone should be asking AFD if this is going to happen and if it is not, why not?

Thanks for reading and doing the work you do!

Anonymous said...

Should be asking the town manager that question.

Larry Kelley said...

13 firefighters (4 of them paid for by UMass) are on duty and it's "first come first serve" as far as what hardware they jump in.

If we have a "box alarm" almost everybody jumps into an Engine to respond (although always at least one ambulance).

The nice thing about brand new Engine 1 being certified as a paramedic level responder is it makes it very versatile.

The only thing it can't do is transport to a hospital.

But the same highly trained responders arrive on the scene whether they were aboard an ambulance or engine.

The short answer is, we only have five ambulances (each requiring 2 firefighters), and it would be expensive to bring the old one back up to serviceability.

Anonymous said...

I drove through the UMASS campus Thursday morning and saw dozens of kids on bikes. Only ONE of them was wearing a helmet. Same thing this morning. No one was wearing a helmet. UMass ought to get a police officer to come to campus to give the UMASS children a lesson in bike safety because clearly their parents have not taught them to always wear a helmet when riding a bike.

Anonymous said...

Since most of the UMass calls are alcohol and drug related, why doesn't the university step up and open a 24 hour detox unit. The ambulances would remain in Amherst that way.

Anonymous said...

I never wear a helmet. Been riding (safely) since 1968. Ride every single day.

Anonymous said...

I have inside knowledge from the top brass at UMass that efforts are under way to eliminate the need for downtown Amherst as more than a bedroom for off-campus students.

More to come

Anonymous said...

UMSS is working on a plan to make a social atmosphere far greater than the lousy facilities offer now. While it's been done at many schools for years UMASS is well behind the times. The offerings make for a need to leave campus for socializing and housing a thing of the past.

Walter Graff said...

Bike helmets are useless. If you think wearing an expensive foam cup on your head will prevent you from an injury then you don't know the reality and simply follow the myth of bike helmets. In many cases bike helmets actually cause worse blows to the head and brain than without. Until companies and the government get serious you are being mislead.

Walter Graff said...

"Since most of the UMass calls are alcohol and drug related, why doesn't the university step up and open a 24 hour detox unit. The ambulances would remain in Amherst that way."

What problem?

1. Cost
2. Legal issues
3. Denial
4. Reputation

Anonymous said...

There are several reasons why AFD does not staff a 6th ambulance. First, and most obviously, there are only 5 ambulances. Yes, a new ambulance is due to be delivered in late fall/early winter. It will replace a 2004 model with nearly 200,000 miles on it. It is impractical to keep this ambulance operating because from a maintenance standpoint, the cost would be extremely high. Expecting to get 10 years out of an ambulance that sees as much use as those at AFD is already a stretch. Expecting longer than 10 years is unrealistic.

Beyond the issue of the rolling stock is the continued issue of staffing. The fire department, as its name suggests, provides more than just emergency medical services. With the assistance of UMASS, the department is able to staff all 5 ambulances after 9pm on Friday and Saturday nights, each with 2 firefighters who are trained to either the paramedic or EMT-Intermediate level. This leaves 4 firefighters dedicated to staffing an engine company which also responds at the paramedic level. (please note that this is only the case between 9pm and 7am on Friday and Saturday. At all other times the minimum staffing is 8) The fact is that if the department places more ambulances in service without an increase in staffing, and those ambulances are utilized, fewer firefighters are available to respond to building fires and other emergency situations.

I know my posts always sound like a broken record, but it all boils down to staffing. It is only possible to do so much with the number of personnel that are on duty at any given time. Until the town acknowledges the staffing problem, develops a plan to solve it, and commits to the plan, the situation will not change.

Jeff Parr

Anonymous said...

Hats off to the EMTs, firefighters and police! We owe them a lot.

Anonymous said...

With regard to UMASS establishing a "detox center". In addition to the reasons listed by Walter, all of which are valid, there are additional problems with such an idea. Once an ambulance arrives on scene, regardless of who requested the response, and an intoxicated patient is encountered, the EMS providers essentially own the patient. By statute, an intoxicated person is not competent to refuse care. In addition, ambulances in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts can only transport to a hospital with a licensed emergency room. So even if it did exist, transporting to such a facility would be impossible.

Jeff Parr

Anonymous said...

"Nothing to see here! Please move along" - John Musante

Walter Graff said...

Thanks Jeff, I was going to list licensing on list but clumped it in wit legal issues. You can't simply open an emergency room. Really though the list should go like this:

1. Lawyers
2. Lawyers
3. Lawyers
4. Lawyers
5. Lawyers

Dr. Ed said...

The problem is that, in reality, there are no longer "live-in" staff in those dormitories.

The problem is that UMass has shifted all of the duties of "live-in" staff to the police and hence to the AFD as well.

The problem is that there are 20,000-30,000 young people COMPLETELY without any adult advice or guidance after 5 PM! It's a Lord of the Flies world where there really isn't anyone over the age of 21 interacting with them even when they want to -- there is NO ONE they can talk to -- ALL they can do is dial 911.

This is how you can have two male undergraduates (one Protestant, one Jewish) going to the Newman Center and asking the Priest to come to the assistance of two Jewish female undergraduates.

The clergy of the various Judeo-Christian faiths are decent people who will help anyone, and he did -- but this is something that the student affairs people ought to have dealt with. Ought to have been available to deal with -- AVAILABLE TO THE STUDENTS......

This incident is why I started carrying a cell phone. As I understand it, increasingly frantic undergraduates were calling absolutely everyone whom they could think of (other undergraduates) -- for over 90 minutes -- until someone realized that it was possible to contact the Newman Center's Priest after 5PM.

Folks, it isn't like when we were undergrads -- even the RD's OFFICE phone numbers are unlisted. If they even live in the building (and many don't), students aren't told where and their doors are labeled "Private Apartment." If you figure out where they live and go knock on the door, the protocol is to call the police and have you arrested rather than coming out to assist you.

There are a lot of well-paid staff living in those dorms, but they are not available to the students, even if they were the type of people from whom students might seek advice -- which they no longer are.

Furthermore there is a divide far greater than the racial divide between the residents of Ferguson and the Ferguson PD -- you are either "student affairs staff" or "student" and for all of the social justice stuff that Student Affairs peaches, there is no form of racism, sexism or homophobia that even approaches the vile contempt that the former has for the latter.

Larry, you may have noticed that I view the word "student" to be a slur more offensive than the "N-word" -- this is why.

I was the Adviser to the UM Republican Club and as everyone knew my loyalty was to the club and not the university administration, that I was not on the best of terms with, I wouldn't be "turning people in."

My only authority was respect and the realization that something unpleasant wouldn't have happened if they'd listened to me the last time, and hence maybe they should this time. I was telling young ladies they ought not be attired as they currently were, I was telling young men that they ought not be doing certain things, and there was a lot of stuff like "yes, you really do need to go to the hospital -- if it were me, I would."

Or, in one case to a then-20-year-old woman, lying on the couch on the office with an injured knee that clearly was quite painful -- "Do you want to be able to dance at your wedding, or do you want to be sitting there in a wheelchair?" "You need to go get an X-ray" -- and then looking around at her friends "and which one of you can drive her over there?"

Young people need that -- they need to be reminded that they aren't immortal. And they need someone older to tell them that.

They don't have that Larry.

Dr. Ed said...

Jeff Parr -- think about this, don't answer now, and maybe you can't publicly -- would we be better off if the drinking age were 18 and/or there was some "college" exception -- and these kids weren't drinking in secret?

Likewise, while I know you aren't doing full tox scans as you are going across the river, I trust you know that ETOH often isn't the only thing in a lot of these kids -- and I'm guessing that there often is more than enough other stuff to more than justify the run.

If you are under 21, Beer and Heroin are both things you will be arrested for if caught with them -- and it isn't hard to go from there to concluding that Heroin is no worse than Beer. It is a lot easier to conceal/hide, and (according to the Boston Globe) cheaper than beer. And if you are carrying Narcan, I suspect it is neither because you have lots of money to spend on things you know you'll never need, nor lots of excess storage space to put them into....

If the colleges didn't have to pretend that the kids weren't drinking and instead could concentrate on not becoming a medical emergency, wouldn't we be better off?

This is what the Amethyst Initiative is about -- and it's why Jack Wilson got fired (note that he was a supporter of it).

Yes, I said "fired" and yes, I said "because of" -- what isn't widely known is that some of the people Deval Patrick appointed to the UM Board of Trustees are Dukakis-era prohibitionists and I believe the reason why you won't see the Flynn report until after the November election is that I suspect that Flynn pointed out a lot of the same stuff that the Amethyst folk are.

I was silenced because I am a supporter of this -- I'm a realist and I know how bad things are. This is a gritty reality that some folks in the Patrick Administration (and no small number of folk in the mASSgop) have ever seen in a "boots on the ground" sense.

There are a lot of powerful people who want to maintain a myth -- create a myth -- that UMass Amherst is a place where students do nothing but study 24/7, along with the related myth that they all get incredibly high paying jobs when they graduate.

Oh, and that they all graduate, too.

Dr. Ed said...

UMass ought to get a police officer to come to campus to give the UMASS children a lesson in bike safety because clearly their parents have not taught them to always wear a helmet when riding a bike.

I don't wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle, which is legal in Maine.

May I suggest that the bigger issue is the reckless operation of bicycles -- remember that a helmet did ever so much good for that individual who died by Amherst College a while back.

And do you honestly think that the UM students would even listen to the UMPD at this point? There is such visceral contempt (on both sides) that even those who currently wear helmets wouldn't wear them anymore...

(NB: As I neither speak ill of the dead nor deny reality, I'm mentioning no gender at all. That's why I wrote it that way.)

Anonymous said...

Massachusetts parents have traditionally not raised their kids to have any adult skills once they leave home.

Keep doing the same kind of parenting and keep expecting the same results.

This is not a reflection on the students or the community, this is reflection of the skills of the Commonwealths' parents. Smarts are not skills.

Dr. Ed said...

An example: I was the adviser to the UM Republican Club and trying to resolve a conflict that had started in a downtown parking lot when a young man had urinated on a young lady's leg. She merely wanted him to apologize for it, and he refused to, claiming he hadn't done it, and the person telling me this believed that he didn't because she thought he had an alcohol blackouts. The story is a lot more complicated and I now believe involves something called Dissociative Personality Disorder, but I digress...

An "Alcohol Blackout" is when one later has no memory of what one said or did while drunk -- it's not to be confused with falling asleep or passing out. I'm not quite sure why it happens medically, but it is a really bad thing and a big-time warning sign on alcohol consumption.

And this is about her -- not just a "typical" UMass student but a "good" UM student. I think she was ComCol as well -- but by all measures the type of student that UM is proud of. That is why this shocked me...

Now remember that this young man had not only driven back to campus, but had given several people rides, including the person telling me about the incident. Apparently the young lady hadn't waited for him to finish urinatng before getting into his car and walked into the stream.

Both intelligent and otherwise mature young women nonchalantly accepted that he was driving drunk, that people were riding with a drunk driver, that he was urinating in a parking lot and in front of women, and that he had blackouts -- none of this struck her as matters of concern or in anyway outside the normal collegiate experience.

I first tried to point out that he wasn't just drunk but blackout-level drunk, which didn't bother her either, and when I asked her why, she nonchalantly stated that "everyone at UMass has blackouts", all the time, that she herself had "two or three a week" and thought nothing of it.

That this is normal -- it happens to everyone whom they know.

This is my point -- these kids are told to never drink at all, they ignore that -- and there is no line beyond that. At all.

How many of us would consider what happened that evening to be acceptable? How many of us would nonchalantly approve of such behavior of our friends were *we* to be leaving a restaurant as a group?

Those of us who choose to drink draw a line between drinking and this stuff -- which I don't think any of us would consider acceptable. And I honestly believe that I was the first person to ever tell her that I didn't think the latter was OK.

Anonymous said...

Larry, your headlines are terrible.

Anonymous said...

Walter do your kids wear helmets when they ride their bikes?

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:49... why not a 7th, or an 8th? Do you really have no issue paying taxes to support these animals who tie up ambulances regularly because they drink to the point of losing consciousness, who ravage the town like Huns every year at the "Barney Blowout", requiring tens of thousands of dollars in police service, who riot when the Red Sox or Patriots WIN OR LOSE a championship? I don't even live in Amherst and I am irate, but hey, it's your tax money! Richard Marsh.

Walter Graff said...

They do wear helmets but I also know that helmets do little for blunt head trauma so I don't think a helmet is going to be the end all to safe riding. It's a false sense of safety.

Walter Graff said...

"Larry, your headlines are terrible."

Larry loves Time Life's 70 CDs :)

Anonymous said...

Let's not blame the parents. It was the kids who weren't wearing the helmets. Kids. Ha. As though they were under 18.

Anonymous said...

Why do you have your kids wear helmets Walter if they don't do anything to protect them?

Walter Graff said...

Helmets can prevent scrapes and abrasions. Outside of that they do little for head protection as the science shows and the people who treat head injuries claim. I'll hedge my bet on a scraped skull any day but don't think my kids brain is any safer in a helmet just as they can spend all they want on $100k football helmets but the brain still takes the concussion.

Problem with most parents is they feel safe knowing their children have helmets on. It's a false sense of security. It's a piece of foam no different than a drinking cup in a plastic shell and does little to nothing. In fact recent studies conclude that reductions in head injuries are due to laws and not helmets. Most kids I see don't even have the helmet properly fitted. Wouldn't matter in most accidents.

Dr. Ed said...

UMSS is working on a plan to make a social atmosphere far greater than the lousy facilities offer now. While it's been done at many schools for years UMASS is well behind the times. The offerings make for a need to leave campus for socializing and housing a thing of the past

The idea is that if they have fancy enough events (that are alcohol-free) the students will choose to attend them instead of drinking.

Won't work: One word: "Pregameing."

For those of you unfamiliar with the term, it involves getting as drunk as you can as quickly as you can -- and then going to the event. The problem, particularly for women with relatively low body weights (i.e. under 140 lbs) is that BAC continues to rise for some time after one has stopped drinking.

Dr. Ed said...

In addition, ambulances in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts can only transport to a hospital with a licensed emergency room.

There is a little bit more to that and it has to do with money and who pays the bills.

If you are a licensed ER, one of the conditions of licensure is that you provide free care to the poor -- not just in the ER itself but throughout the entire institution -- to anyone who is sick, injured, or in "active labor." And to anyone, not just UM students...

It wasn't always this way -- back in the distant past -- '70's/'80's -- AFD was permitted to transport students to UHS but that changed with the law mandating transporting only to a licensed ER and UHS not wanting to be licensed.

Big reaspon: they wouldn't be able to bill students, most of whom are "indigent" -- it is some specified dollars/per/week pay figure and most students fall below it. And if you can't bill students, then you can't kick them out of school for not paying the bills -- UHS would loose a LOT of money that it currently receives.

And at UMass, it is really all about the money.

THIS is why UMass doesn't want to license UHS as an ER -- they could have done it without that much difficulty back when it was open 24/7 and had a fully

Anonymous said...

This is not about bike helmets folks, this about a town manager who does not believe in public safety. The bubble has burst! It is clearly evident that our police and firefighters can no longer handle this amount of immature behavior of the so-called "smartest students ever". The University does nothing meaningful to help this situation, just throwing money at public relations stunts and studies.

Anonymous said...

Amherst is in a tough position. The University is it's life blood, yet the University is the reason Amherst will not grow. You don't bite the hand that feeds you and you don't offer more services if the University tells you not to do it or else. As someone here said "what problem, just move along folks, nothing to see".

Anonymous said...

Of course there will be times when someone is in distress and no one will be there to help them. In the grand scheme of things, so what? Welcome to planet Earth. There's injustice and death and pain and misery and people will suffer, that's for sure, pleasure and comfort and goodness are NOT a guarantee. We can throw all our time and effort and money into it and that won't change. You're going to die on this rock, deal with it.