Monday, January 30, 2017

On A Wing & A Prayer

 Rolling Green fatal fire (photo by Stephanie Jernigan

If a terrorist bomb detonates in downtown Amherst during peak traffic period you would expect AFD to require nine or more mutual aid ambulance runs from surrounding professional departments over a four hour period.

In fact these days all professional departments practice for those unthinkable Mass Causality Incidents.

But when a routine late Saturday night into early Sunday morning this early in the semester requires nine mutual aid ambulances (mostly for intoxicated college age youth at UMass) something is dramatically wrong.

And the thought that keeps Chief Nelson awake at night is what happens if a major structure fire occurs in the middle of that EMS mayhem, such as we saw a few years ago at Rolling Green that left one UMass student dead?

   AFD Swamped by Larry Kelley on Scribd

Holyoke has come under fire for having one engine on brown out that could have been helpful in that fatal fire on New Year's Day.

But the staffing shortage at AFD is almost like an everyday brownout since Engines or ambulances can't drive themselves.

Yes the UMass funded "impact shift" with four extra firefighters was not on duty because officials felt it too early in the semester to be necessary.

 But even with two extra potential ambulances Mutual Aid would still have been required during that troubling four hour period.

You have to wonder how Northampton is going to feel when they send all their available ambulances to Amherst and one of their own citizens suddenly needs medical assistance?


Anonymous said...

That happens in every community ..Holyoke, Sprfld, Chicopee..
Sometimes you have to wait for EMS, Cops, Whatever

Anonymous said...

Imagine if Town Meeting fails to approve funding for the schools and all that extra money has to come out of local services. Because it cannot cost less, only more, out of local services.

Anonymous said...

WTF, 5:29?

Dr. Ed said...

Larry, if there was a terrorist bomb detonated in Amherst, ambulances would roll from five states -- it would be like the Marathon Bombing -- and I doubt that the AFD would remain in command for long.

What I noticed is what I predicted -- note the high percentage of calls to the Commonwealth (Honors) College dorms. Yep....

I doubt Hamp will complain about the extra ambulance revenue, and the principle of mutual aid is that the next ambulance crew (AMR?) backs up Hamp.

Anonymous said...

Clearly you are not educated on the topic of lack of funding for Amherst's fire department from town hall. Therefore you should just keep quiet. Yes it happens in every community but not the way it happens in amherst. I live in chicopee and amherst. In chicopee i may have to wait for an ambulance, but i know 3-4 trained lifesavers will arrive on a firetruck before that ambulance almost immediately to save my life. Then i will be taken to he hospital on that ambulance. alive. In amherst I may have to wait for an ambulance to arrive from northampton or belchertown because all of amherst's firefighters emts and paramedics are busy on other calls. Meaning someone choking or going into cardiac arrest is already dead before help arrives. Also if I am trapped in a building that has caught on fire i am more likely to be saved in chicopee. One amherst firefighter is not capable of entering and evacuating a burning house, apartment complex, or HIGH RISE UMASS BUILDINGS. Sometimes you have to wait, but you should be waiting for emergency services not a bodybag.

Dr. Ed said...

Ummmm, 8:20 -- there are also POLICE OFFICERS responding, and they inevitably will be there first. They can go faster and are already in a vehicle -- they'll be there first.

They have first aid training - maybe they need more. While I have issues with them, I have no doubt they'd do a Hemlich or start CPR, or go into a burning building if they could. The UMPD also rolls on serious fires near campus (or did), and they'd do likewise.

And UMass has it's own fire department, it's called EH&S.

Anonymous said...

10:17.... EH&S is NOT a fire department by any means. Not even close. Get rid of 24hr shifts, rearrange the tours on duty, hire some help so the town can have a dedicated engine for responses. Due to all the social media whining private service companies are already looking at the UMass contact- that alone would alleviate some of the call volume, and while AFD may back up the private service if they get the contract, they wont be primary thus slowing down the call volume and allowing resources for our town. Does AFD need help? yes absoulutely. Is there other ways to manage the current staffing? Sure.

Anonymous said...

Since the nightspot & resteraunt community fostered this alcoholic bash epidemic by sponsoring the Blarney Blowout - ad nauseum-they should be called out to be part and parcel of the solution-they are booze capitalist - the community gets innocents mowed down and brutally murdered by DWI's in front of an establishment cited for willfully negligence of drinking laws-time for Amherst to make these jokers pony up the price of first responders to this diseased behaviorism !!!?@&$$$

Dr. Ed said...

In response to 10:20's incoherent rant, I'd love to know what percent of the ETOH transports are over the age of 21. My guess is that most aren't.

Weren't things better when Amherst had Frat Row within walking distance of UMass?

Anonymous said...

Let us pray..we just gotta hope-that non of these(College pukesters) play people ever get in a position of authority as a social worker-nursing home director/associate.police..or anything that requires even a hint of modicum social moral ethical sobriety..guess I spoke too is a PAIN to deal with these types when they "Just don't get it" about DWI victims-maybe even anybody else..just say'n...!!!!???

Anonymous said...

How about force UMass to hire and staff two privately run ambulances each Thurs, Friday & Sat for all the ETOH transports? Im sure AMR would love some extra dough. They used to house ETOH patients at the Infirmary but no more…so the long rides to and from CDH kills AFD staffing.

Anonymous said...

The economic law of diminishing returns does apply here Larry.

It makes a lot of sense to make sure that we allocated to resources to handle 90 to 95% of the calls.

The last 5 to 10% is and always will be debatable, even if it is lives. These additional percents can cost as much or even orders of magnitude more to facilitate. At some point we all always say enough effort or expense has been paid.

Perhaps follow the lead of the fed and make it so two dollars or rules need to be eliminated to spend a new dollar or make a new rule. It will force folks to prioritize more.

Like right now, as a town we feel that each kid's education for one year, stuff they will barely remember, is worth way more than 1/3 of a public safety employee who could help countless people in their real time of need. We feel fine if we cannot answer these calls as long as the kids who are going to move away or have little work are educated and their parents do not need to sacrifice any more than nonparents for the little expensive gifts they have given society. This is the trade off we make now.

Now that I think about it, a budget or trade-offs cannot fix people that have their priorities this out of wack. Perhaps education or real emergencies could though...