IMPROVEMENTS TO HAWLEY’S EMS
(Emergency Medical Services)
THE HAWLEY SELECT BOARD HAS APPROVED a Memorandum of Agreement with the Adams Ambulance Service, a not-for-profit ambulance company which provides EMS service to the Town of Adams and several neighboring communities. The Agreement formally enables Hawley to request Adams Ambulance on an as-needed mutual-aid basis. The Agreement has also been approved by Adams Ambulance and Hawley’s Fire Chief Greg Cox. The Select Board voted unanimously in favor of it on November 12, 2019.
Hawley currently relies on Charlemont Ambulance, a volunteer service, as its primary Basic Life Support (BLS) Ambulance provider. This new Agreement with Adams does not alter that relationship, and Charlemont Ambulance, in cooperation with the Hawley Fire Department, will continue to handle the majority of medical calls in Hawley. However, no ambulance service can be everywhere all of the time and this is especially the case with a volunteer service (like Charlemont), where EMTs do not work regular “shifts”, but instead respond to calls depending on their availability. Additionally, there are many types of medical incidents, like strokes, cardiac events, and major injuries, that require a higher level of care than basic EMTs are able to provide.
This higher level of care, referred to as Advanced Life Support (ALS), is typically provided by Paramedics and Advanced EMTs. Adams Ambulance, a full time professional service, operates at the ALS/Paramedic level and can handle these kinds of events.
Because of issues with ambulance availability and different standards of care required for different events, Hawley, like all rural towns including Charlemont, also has relationships with a number of other pre-hospital care providers. These include Shelburne Falls, Colrain Ambulance, Northern Berkshire (out of North Adams), and American Medical Response (AMR, formerly Med Care) out of Greenfield.
Adams, which has already responded to calls in Hawley in the past without a formal mutual-aid agreement, can now be officially added to that list of available providers. Formalizing the relationship means that it will be easier for emergency responders to request Adams Ambulance for incidents in Hawley, adding one more Paramedic level Ambulance that can be called if others are unavailable, thereby shortening response time and making us all safer.
This Agreement will not cost Hawley anything financially. As the Agreement makes clear “The Parties shall be responsible for their own costs, staffing, and revenues and this Agreement does not provide for any kind of revenue sharing or cost allocation between them.” Adams Ambulance will bill the patient’s insurance provider directly, as do most other ambulance services including Charlemont.
Hussain Hamdan, Hawley Selectboard Chairman