Mass. ambulance loses 2 rear wheels returning from hospital transport

The Amherst Fire Fighters Local 1764 is advocating for improvements in staffing and equipment after an older, backup rig was used to transport patients


By Kerri Hatt

AMHERST, Mass. — An Amherst Fire Department ambulance which came to a screeching halt after losing two rear wheels has led to calls for improvements in equipment and staffing, the Daily Hampshire Gazette reported.

In a letter to the Town Council, Ben Graham, president of Amherst Fire Fighters Local 1764, noted that while no one was injured, the incident “could have been much worse” on the busy roadway at a different time of day, or if a patient was being transported.  

“We can work together to begin to correct this problem in the future, or we will suffer more catastrophic equipment failures and risk the lives of the public and your firefighters, while failing to protect the public and the services they deserve,” Graham wrote.

According to the Daily Hampshire Gazette, the union and the department’s leaders have advocated for replacing the department’s five ambulances every 7-8 years, rather than the current 10-year cycle. The ambulance involved in the incident – a 2012 rig with more than 155,000 miles – is considered a backup ambulance for event coverage, but was used for patient transports while a new rig was being serviced.

A Joint Capital Planning Committee’s report recommends borrowing $361,500 to replace this ambulance, rather than revise the replacement cycle.

Town Manager Paul Bockelman said the vehicle had passed a state inspection on August 2, and each week the ambulances are checked by firefighters, but he has asked the department to reinspect all its ambulances.

 

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