Showing posts with label Mullins Center. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mullins Center. Show all posts

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Better This Time

 Agawam FD on scene Mullins Center last night enroute to CDH

Thanks to a requirement from Amherst Fire Chief Tim Nelson that the Mullins Center hire outside contractors to be on site (well, close by at North Station anyway) there were no serious problems last night with ambulance supply-and-demand at the Mullins Center.

Agawam and Easthampton FD ambulances were able to handle the medical transports to Cooley Dickinson Hospital, all of them alcohol related.   "About what we expected" according to Chief Nelson.

A good thing of course since we are talking about potentially life and death scenarios for the rest of us living in town, where a quick arriving ambulance can make all the difference in the world.

Although you would be amazed at some of the ambulance calls Dispatch deals with.

Mullins Center Command, staffed by AFD personnel, saw a total of 15 concert goers last night with four of them requiring transport. Nothing compared to last month's concert.

The next test of our Emergency Medical System will come on Halloween: Another Mullins Center show and with the holiday falling on a weekend the college aged zombie hoards will be out in full strength looking to party.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Mullins Center Command

AFD ambulance backing into south entrance Mullins Center late last night

Friday night into early Saturday morning, although certainly stressed, our emergency medical system worked.  Most times, the center holds. 

At the first major Electronic Dance Music concert of the semester-- 'Life In Color" paint party -- a dozen patrons required ambulance transport from the Mullins Center to either Cooley Dickinson Hospital in nearby Northampton, Holyoke Medical Center and/or Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield.

Additional hospitals were used in order to keep Cooley Dickinson emergency ward from being overwhelmed, as this weekend is a busy time throughout the Valley.

The first call for an ETOH patron occurred at 8:00 PM, and Mullins Center Command terminated just after midnight.

In addition to the dozen transports -- 11 of which were alcohol related (ETOH) -- AFD's on site command center overseen by Chief Tim Nelson treated and released an additional 14 patrons for self induced illness brought on by substance abuse.

 Agawam and Easthampton FD were contracted to assist AFD

AFD brought in two outside ambulances, one from Easthampton and the other from Agawam, to deal directly with Mullins Center patients so as to keep the five AFD ambulances available for the rest of the town.

The concert attracted 3,000 patrons and from around 10 PM into the early morning hours a stream of scantily clad college aged youth could be seen traversing Commonwealth Avenue from the Mullins Center back to Southwest Residential area, many of them stained with pink paint.

Chief Nelson was quite satisfied with overall response of his department, quoting baseball great Ernie Banks "We're all here, we might as well play."

"People are going to imbibe too much, that's just a reality," said the Chief, who summed it up succinctly:

"We planned for this and we trained for it ... The system worked."

The next major Mullins Center challenge will occur over for Halloween weekend.  Let's hope it does not sell out with 9,000 vs the 3,000 youth who attended last night's event ...

 Umass after dark last night (Mullins Center top left)

Friday, October 24, 2014

Mullins Center Mellowing?

Skrillex show was promoted on PVTA buses

Unlike the Fantazia concert last month at the UMass-owned but privately-managed Mullins Center, AFD was able to handle the alcohol induced floodgates that seem to open with certain music acts, not to single out Electronic Dance Music -- but EDM sure seems to do it.

Last night "Mullins Center Command" stationed on site (personnel, but not the ambulances) for the Skrillex show handled 22 total patients, 15 treated and released but another seven requiring ambulance transport to the Cooley Dickinson Hospital vs 11 transports to CDH for Fantazia.

 Easthampton and South Hadley FD staging at AFD North Station for Mullins Center EDM show

AFD Chief Nelson requires the venue to hire two out-of-town ambulances to supplement AFD although they were still not enough to prevent AFD ambulances from joining in the convoy to CDH.

At the Fantazia concert, however, in addition to five AFD ambulances and the two out-of-town ambulances, we still had to call in Northampton FD via mutual aid for a college aged youth with a serious head injury.

 A3 at Mullins Center last night for ETOH college aged female

So yes, last night was a LOT better.  But still unacceptable

UMPD was busy all night as well

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Return Of EDM Mayhem

Fantazia was cancelled last year @ Mullins Center due to concerns about drug "molly"

So once again, if you needed an ambulance late last night for a real life threatening emergency (not self-induced) you would have had to await precious (many) minutes for it to arrive from a surrounding town.
 Two AFD ambulances at UMass Mullins Center last night for drunk patrons

Yes, in spite of extra staffing paid for by our friends at UMass that allowed for five fully staffed ambulances, and despite the two extra out-of-town ambulances Chief Nelson required the Mullins Center to hire ... it still wasn't enough!

AFD Engine 3 at Mullins Center last night

AFD had to use Engine 1 as an emergency medical unit to respond with trained personnel who can help stabilize the patient, but they cannot transport to a hospital.

A couple weeks back a cyclist with a serious head injury was first tended to in this way but had to wait for a Northampton ambulance to transport him to Baystate Critical Care unit in Springfield.

 South Hadley Medic 2 staging at AFD North Station last night

The Mullins Center concert had a dozen transports for ETOH (intoxicated) patrons in less than four hours and AFD handled another five (so 17 in total) not related to the concert.

Interestingly the ambulances from South Hadley and Easthampton had to stage at North Station 1.5 miles away because Mullins Center management did not like the "image" presented when they staged on site, as has been the previous custom.  

 AFD at UMass Pierpont Dorm last night for intoxicated student

This disaster comes in the wake of UMass releasing the $160,000 Ed Davis Report, a Monday morning quarterbacking of the Blarney Blowout where alcohol is cited as a major contributing factor. 

AFD Engines 1&3 at Amherst College Frost Library for drunk student last night

Sunday, April 13, 2014

A Dangerous Indulgence

AFD on scene UMass Southwest area 2:15 a.m.

The first call came in at 1:59 AM, a routine as rain "still alarm" in a UMass high rise dorm.  Two minutes later it changed from routine to a full blown scramble as reports from UMPD indicated smoke in the building and an "orange glow" on the 14th floor causing a second call to all units, the dreaded "box alarm."

Almost instantly four fire engines and all available ambulances (two out of five) are converging on the scene.

 14th floor room where alarm originated (circled in red).  Beyond reach of Ladder trucks

Meanwhile just down Commonwealth Avenue, a river of students is converging on Kennedy dorm and the rest of the Southwest towers from a concert called, appropriately enough, "Code Black" that just let out at the Mullins Center.

The smoke , thankfully, turned out to be burnt popcorn.

 AFD packing up the hose

Even as all units were still making busy at the base of Kennedy tower two more calls came in for ETOH (intoxicated) students -- one at nearby John Quincy Adams tower and the other on the Amherst College campus.  

These, in addition to the half-dozen that had already occurred since midnight at the Mullins Center, all for intoxicated college aged youth.  Even though AFD Chief Tim Nelson had convinced facility management to have two ambulances (one from Easthampton and the other Belchertown) standing by as part of "Mullins Center Command" they were quickly overwhelmed by calls for service.

 AFD on scene Mullins Center 12:45 a.m.

At one point, around 12:45 a.m., two AFD ambulances were simultaneously tied up at the Mullins Center for intoxicated patrons.  In all the concert required 6 ambulance transports (one by Easthampton FD, 2 by Belchertown FD and 3 by AFD) as well as an additional 21 patients seen by paramedics on scene.

The alcohol induced drain on public safety also impacted police as both UMPD and APD assist AFD at the scene of all medical emergencies, even when it's simply substance abuse calls.

Oftentimes the calls to respond to an ETOH student included the addition information that the patient had fallen, resulting in a head laceration.

Eighteen months ago a young woman under the influence of alcohol fell while walking on Fearing Street, hitting her head on the unforgiving concrete curb, resulting in death. 

Last week my 12-year-old daughter fell from a horse resulting in a head and neck injury (which proved minor).  When my wife called 911, EMS was quick to arrive.  Late last night into early this morning, that vital lifesaving system was heavily taxed -- almost to the breaking point.

Mostly to preventable alcohol or drug related calls. 

Live Tweeting a disaster:

Indiegogo fundraiser for Amherst Record Digital News

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Call For Back Up

Finally, a family oriented event for the rest of us at the UMass Mullins Center. 

Every day police, fire, and military personnel put their lives on the line for all of us civilians regardless of race, creed, color or social standing, allowing us to go about our daily routine without having to worry about outside intrusions, including catastrophic occurrences.

Or at least be comforted to know that should one of those events suddenly happen, trained individuals will run towards the disaster.

So it's only natural I guess for all those public servants to act like a big family when it comes to taking care of their own.  The Ice Stars For Wounded Warriors event at the Mullins Center this weekend is a prime example.

Even after an exhausting highly emotional week scouring the streets of Boston for cold blooded killers some of Boston's finest will make their way to Amherst on Friday for the hockey game portion (5:00 PM) of the benefit extravaganza. 

Yes police, fire, military and grateful talented members of the general public are all coming together to put on a show.  And I'm sure it will top anything Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland came up with back in the day.

All proceeds will be split equally between the Wounded Warrior Project and The One Fund Boston.

Hockey Teams Include:

Boston Police Department
    Belchertown Police and Fire Department
    Holyoke Firefighters
    Franklin County Deputy Sheriffs
    MAANG Red Legs
    Mass Fallen Heroes
    Worcester Fire Department
    Rhode Island State Police

Monday, April 22, 2013

Concert Consequences

Easthampton FD, one-half of "Mullins Center Command"

So yes, the Rusko concert at the Mullins Center went much better than it did last year when AFD was completely overwhelmed with a tsunami of ETOH calls.  

This year AFD had convinced Mullins Center management (not be confused with UMass management) to hire two ambulances from surrounding towns hand-picked by AFD, to handle the by-product of a combination of strobe lights, loud music, energetic dancing, alcohol and drugs ... usually dubbed, ETOH.

Click to enlarge/read

Friday, April 12, 2013

And In This Corner ...

This weekend-- and perhaps more so for Rusko next weekend -- the beefed up Amherst Fire Department will be put to the test as the Mullins Center hosts back-to-back techno music concerts, well know providers of ETOH calls (alcohol poisoning).

And in the other corner: AFD A3 

With 13 professional full-time firefighters on duty, the plan is to staff all six ambulances thus leaving only one firefighter for "station coverage."  

And when five ambulances are all tied up carting drunks to Cooley Dickinson Hospital and a call comes in for a 9 month old baby choking or a 92 year old grandmother having a stroke we will all be thankful for that sixth ambulance -- especially if it's your loved one they rescue.

Standing orders are that last ambulance would go to the scene of the emergency without hesitation, and who could argue with that?

The problem is that leaves only one firefighter left to protect the town, who can't do a heck of a lot.  Then what happens when the dreadful call come in:  "Box Alarm. Three story wood structure. Fully involved".  

And, even worse, it's located in deep South Amherst.

Yes, the Student Force based at North Station would respond, as would mutual aid from South Hadley, Belchertown, Hadley and Northampton, but that would take extra time.  

And in a major structure fire, time is on the side of the demon.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

A Positive Spin

 Mullins Center Thursday night (be afraid of the dark)

If you threw a UMass News and Media Relations PR flack off the top of one of the Southwest Towers, about half way down he would tweet how refreshing is the air flow.  Another one stationed on the 3rd floor would announce how well he is doing ... so far.

So I guess it is not surprising that, according to UMass spokesperson Daniel J. Fitzgibbons, our higher education officials were "satisfied" with the response to the Tiesto concert, despite  the swamping of Emergency Medical Services on Thursday night for alcohol related calls.

In other words, get used to it!

So anytime the Mullins Center schedules a techno dubstep "artist" we can just write off emergency first responder service to the rest of Amherst and four other nearby towns that rely on AFD for ambulance serivces for three or four hours.

Yeah, that's a (pernicious) plan.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Tax Exempt Entity Taxes EMS

 AFD on scene Mullins Center

Just as "party houses" should not disrupt the tranquility of a neighborhood so taxpayers have to deal with the mitigation mess, neither should UMass allow the Mullins Center to host concerts that swamp our emergency medical services. 

Take last night for instance:  AFD and four other surrounding towns had to provide ambulance transport for 19 patrons of the Tiesto concert directly from the Mullins Center to Cooley Dickinson Hospital and two more from UMPD jail to CDH.

Yes, none of them were UMass students. But the Mullins Center is owned by the UMass Building Authority, sits on UMass land, cost taxpayers $50 million to build (with six digit annual operation losses), and pays no property taxes to either Hadley or Amherst.

Back in 2000 the Hadley assessor tried to partially tax the facility arguing that Ogden Entertainment was a private company and rock concerts had nothing to do with higher education. 

The Appelate Tax Board found against the town of Hadley saying Ogden was an independent contractor "merely providing contractual management services". Since certain type of concerts -- techno for one -- seem to produce a high number of ETOH (alcohol overdose) calls, Mullins Center does pay for one ambulance to stage on site.

But after the last fiasco, also a Thursday night,  Chief Nelson talked them into contracting for two ambulance crews on standby.  Last night required five. 

Dancing Peeps. Dehydration and alcohol make for a lousy mix.

When mere entertainment taxes our vital services so heavily, it's time to get serious about solutions:  Maybe the Mullins Center needs to start dancing to a different beat.

UMass will be so proud

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Thumping Thursday

 All sorts of first responders on scene Mullins Center: AFD, UMPD, Environmental Health/Safety

As I write this the "Tiesto" techno concert at the Mullins Center is still going on, minus at least 13 concert goers who have been taken by ambulance to the Cooley Dickinson Hospital for alcohol related emergencies.

Ambulances have descended on the UMass campus from Belchertown, Northampton, Westfield, and South Hadley to aid the Amherst Fire Department in handling the rash of calls.

With most of our on duty firefighters dealing with drunks at the Mullins Center, it would be a lousy time for a major structure fire to occur-- like the one that took a life at Rolling Green Apartments last

Ambulances are coming and going at the Mullins Center, UMass Amherst

Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Day of Reckoning?

Sunday morning epilogue: AFD transported four intoxicated individuals to CDH last night including one naked male and treated at the scene (Mullins Center) fourteen total. A week ago Thursday totals were far worse: 24 treated, 14 transported.

The centre held...this time.  
Original Post (All day/night Saturday reverse chronological order):

11:15 PM  AFD responding to UMass Washington high rise dorm for ETOH female

10:22 PM AFD sending ambulance to Mullins Center for two ETOH patients (passed out drunk). Westfield Ambulance hired by Mullins Center was busy taking another ETOH patient to Cooley Dickinson Hospital.
815 PM: Mullins Center line snakes out almost to the road waiting for techno music extravaganza
State Police, Hampden County Sheriffs, and the APD, prepare for darkness

7:15 PM  Extravaganja 2012 Pot Rally is done. No arrests (as in hands cuffed behind back and thrown in cell), but thirty (30) citations issued for possession of less than an ounce of pot. Each citation is a $100 fine. Now the real partying begins, with alcohol the drug of choice. And by the looks of the parking lot at APD headquarters, they are ready for anything.
AFD APD respond to reported drug overdose (4:10 PM). Gone on arrival
Crowd of thousands at 4:15 PM
Town Center very busy around Town Common 4:20 PM
APD bike cops make a bust 3:00 PM
Town Common Extravaganja 10:00 AM (2 hours until start)

7:30 AM
And so it a Hollywood disaster movie: sun shining brightly, a vivid blue sky, a bird chirping incessantly from a far off perch.

All across the region folks are starting to stir.  Soon, many thousands will descend upon us:  SoccerFest at UMass, Extravaganja pot festival on the town common.

By daylight things will be fine.  They always are.  Although a thousand students will start to party.

Then darkness comes.  More--much more--than a thousand students continue to party.  The Mullins Center opens for "Fantazia," a techno dance extravaganza attracting thousands more, who revel in partying.

The stage is set.

Bus route detours to mitigate parties

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Public Nuisance

Mullins Center: A giant drain on Amherst public safety

Last Thursday night for a three hour period all five Amherst ambulances were stuck in a continuous loop between the UMass Mullins Center, a state owned entertainment venue, and the Cooley Dickinson Hospital, transporting 14 drug or alcohol overdose "victims," leaving AFD helpless to protect the town against medical emergencies requiring an ambulance.

These days the AFD is busy enough as it is.

Two months ago when the Mullins Center hosted a Rusko concert the results were almost as bad, with 8 patient transports in a very short period tying up all five ambulances.

This Saturday Amherst, UMass and State Police are on high alert for end of semester party hijinks.  Extravaganja, extolling the virtues of marijuana, is expected to attract 5,000 pot patrons to the town common.  Ominously, the Mullins Center is once again promoting a "performance"--Fantazia-- that appears to be tailor made to produce drug and alcohol overdoses.

A "360 degree dance experience" means folks will be engaged in physical exertion, combined with a tad too much alcohol or drugs in a warm venue under pulsating lights can quickly lead to medical problems.  

AFD will have 9 professional firefighters on during the day (normal staffing is 7) increased to 11 as darkness descends (three of them stationed at the Mullins Center) with an additional medic riding along with APD. Chief Nelson and Assistant Chief's Stromgren and McKay will also be hovering.

Still, the centre may not hold.

Terrifying enough we routinely play Russian roulette with a single round in the chamber, on Saturday night there may be as many as three.  Click, click...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Help Delayed = Dangerzone

Main Street/South Whitney Friday 5:00 PM 10/14/11

Welcome Reddit/UMass readers. Click the "nuisance house" tag for the cavalcade of party house winners over the past year
God help Amherst residents should a medical emergency or fire have happened last Saturday night around 10:00 PM; sure, Northampton FD would have arrived...eventually.

Rowdy student behavior doesn't just keep residents awake on weekends--it also squanders the precious resources of the Amherst Fire Department. And it's not like UMass has a fire department of its own.

The Mullins Center, owned by UMass, so a tax exempt entity, hosted a giant party on Saturday night in the form of Deadmau5 a DJ "artist" who mixes music and probably plays it loud enough to garner a $300 noise ticket if he were playing on Meadow Street or Hobart Lane.

The AFD wisely based an ambulance and paramedic crew on scene and, sure enough, they handled eight cases (alcohol related) thus avoiding a costly trip in time to the Cooley Dickinson Hospital, where the average turn around for handling a single drunk student (once they get there) is an hour, more like an hour-and-a-half if blood, vomit or other body fluids spill inside the ambulance.

Meanwhile between 9:16 PM and 11:50 PM four more cases of ETOH (too much alcohol) required transport to the hospital, thus depleting the cavalry should Fort Amherst require assistance. You know, the normal working person who pays property taxes to help finance our $4 million Fire/EMS system.

Yes, the student call force (for fire calls only) and one professional firefighter to supervise were available, but if your most precious asset was in imminent danger--is that the response you expect?

Update/correction: UMass does pay a fee (like hiring police for a traffic detail) for the extra ambulance assigned to the Mullins Center for special occasions.
The UMass Daily Collegian reports (the fines are working!)

Just another typical weekend for AFD

AFD reports