The University of Massachusetts Amherst will provide $80,000 to the Town of Amherst for expanded ambulance services for both the fall and spring semesters, significantly boosting its contribution to maintaining public safety in the town. The money will pay for staffing on two ambulances during busy periods, mostly on weekends, during the school year.
This new agreement builds on a previous arrangement announced last March where campus and town officials agreed on a set of public safety measures including funding to staff two additional ambulances, said Nancy Buffone, executive director of external relations and university events. “We’ve expanded the increased ambulance coverage to include all of the warm weather months when UMass is in session to the entire year,” Buffone said.
The agreement increases the number of town ambulances in service from three to five, giving the Amherst Fire Department money to increase staffing on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The additional ambulances are intended to address concerns that the town can be left vulnerable when its ambulances are transporting intoxicated students from campus to Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton during peak weekend nights.
The new funding will supplement the annual financial support paid by the university to the town for ambulance calls based on a per-call formula. The parties’ Strategic Partnership Agreement includes a per-call formula for ambulance service. In fiscal 2012, UMass Amherst paid the town $363,718 for ambulance service per the agreement.