Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Amherst EMS: A New Normal

AFD provides ambulances to Amherst, Hadley, Leverett, Pelham & Shutesbury

This past weekend was not nearly as crazy as last weekend when AFD had to rely on NINE outside ambulances via mutual aid but three outside ambulances were required.  So still not acceptable.

Interestingly the difference in total calls was only seven less going from 56 down to 49 but it was the timing of the calls, which is the problem with ETOH (overly drunk) incidents as they tend to come in clusters.

And staffing last weekend was only 8 compared to 11 this weekend.  Thus demonstrating proper staffing makes all the difference.


Anonymous said...

Seems like a big opportunity for private ambulance/EMS. This is quite common nationwide. Some places even sell ambulance insurance, you can either pay something like $50 a year or pay $5000 when they pick you up. This is not a game with little consequence like the schools. We should run fire and EMS like the grocery store, which rarely lets us down and provides an even more important and complicated service (bringing you food from 1000s of suppliers from all over the world, something everyone uses every few hours every last day).

Larry Kelley said...

And while we're at it let's privatize fire fighting like some hic towns where folks pay an annual fee and if they don't the FD arrives and watches your house burn to the ground (sarcasm font).

Anonymous said...

If Umass did bring in AMR as a private service covering the campus and events at mullins and such, would amherst still lose? How much of the $$ from those etoh ambulance runs boosts the town coffers to at least help fund the service. Fewer calls, fewer $$, fewer firefighters/medics. Help is needed but $$ is needed too.

Jeff O said...

Larry, has there been any talk about bringing back the UMass Infirmary? At least there would be shorter runs while Nursing and Med students get hands on experience.

The kids are never going to stop getting hammered. We were all there at some point but when I have the "Big One", I want an ambulance ready.

Larry Kelley said...

Rules have changed. It's a pretty big deal for a facility to get permit to receive an ambulance.

Dr. Ed said...

Perhaps if some of the firefighters were hired for just those hours they were needed, and not the full 24, staffing wouldn't be a problem. Police departments have been doing this for years.

Anonymous said...

Ed, they can't predict when they will be needed. Weekend nights isn't the only time they've had to call for coverage.

Anonymous said...

The actual question to be answered is:

How much is it worth to fund a response system to cover EVERY contingency?

If Amherst requires mutual aid in this amount 5 days a year is it better i.e. more fiscally prudent, to add $500K worth of staff and legacy costs or continue to rely on mutual aid?

Firefighting and police departments (and school systems for that matter) will always absorb as many resources and as much money as they are given.

The town has to manage the actuarial probability of loss versus the cost of providing the services.

Anonymous said...

Can we stop with the private EMS guys coming on here and offering the same solution each week? Private EMS in Amherst or at UMass is not happening for a number of reasons. The least of which the the $3.5 million in revenue it would cost the town. $3 million in ambulance fees and 500k in payments from Umass.

Hadley is a different story. The Town of Hadley makes up about the same amount of call volume for AFD as Umass does. At 975 EMS calls last year Hadley is of the size where it can and should run its own ambulance service and only rely on Amherst for back up or paramedic intercept.

Now even if you move Hadley and Umass out of the AFD protection district the department would still respond to 4600 calls per year. The same amount as in 2003 when staffing was the same and the department had the highest call per firefighter rate in the state. A 2003 study called for the immediate move to 9 person minimum shifts with current personnel, then the hiring of 4 additional personnel to allow for a move to 10 person shifts. 14 years later, 2000 more calls per year, and even that minimal hire of 4 people and 2 additional professionals on shift, has yet to happen.

Anonymous said...

Private Fire fighters could also make sense. We would have to have liability and standards, one of the two things we get from the current fire crews.

When a wealthy family really wants good protection, they hire private fire and security. This is sarcastic or unrealistic. The finest of services are not provided by the public sector, they are provided by the private sector.

It would be appropriate to use a sarcasm font when we talk about high quality public services in the little space between describing their endless failures on this blog. Most of what I see posted here is about how the town fails at doing its job - does not meet standards or have liability when this happens.

But I was talking about private EMS, something that is quite common, though not as common as volunteer fire fighting. I do not see the value in characterizing this like it is crazy, doesn't that just limit the peoples' options to be saved. You are stating that one of the residents current viable options is to not be rescued and be ok with it. And the only reason this is ok is that no one actually made the commitment to save them....you are just supposed to hope they come? Get yelled at by another rude dispatcher?

The town has decided, the kids need their expensive and ineffective education (people are actually debating spending even more), while their grandparents sit in a pool of urine or blood suffering? I am not being sarcastic.