Adams Ambulance to Close

Staff ReportsiBerkshires
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ADAMS, Mass. — Adams Ambulance Service will cease operations on Dec. 31 after nearly 50 years.
The service had indicated in September that a deficit of more than $200,000 was endangering its ability to continue. Numerous social media posts were made by employees on Friday that they been informed of the closure. The ambulance board had reportedly met on Thursday night.
In a statement following the news, Adams officials said all three communities have been talking and "have been coordinating with Northern Berkshire EMS to assume EMS operations in our communities. A transition plan is underway to ensure continuity of emergency medical services."
Northern Berkshire EMS says it's committed to working with the towns on a transition plan but will need more staff to expand its coverage. 
"We have been very transparent in all our meetings with the towns and AAS that we would need additional staff to bolster our response capabilities," said Paul Ethier, president of Northern Berkshire EMS, in a statement released Sunday. "Furthermore, when we met with AAS and they confirmed on Dec. 31, 2023, they would cease operations, we encouraged them to have their employees apply to our agency so we could begin the onboarding process. 
"Unfortunately, we were not advised this announcement was coming this past Friday."
Town of Cheshire officials also posted on Facebook that "We are confident that Northern Berkshire EMS will be able to provide emergency medical care to the people in our communities. Please know that although the plan is developing, we will do our best to keep the public informed of the transition by sharing additional information as it becomes available."
Adams Ambulance's board had warned back in August in a memo that "increasing expenses and limited revenues" were affecting the service's ability to function.
The nonprofit was established in 1970 to fill a gap left by the closure of Martin's Ambulance Service, a private entity that ran for 41 years. It has covered the towns of Adams, Cheshire and Savoy and, more recently, Hawley. Hawley is the only town that pays a subsidy for the service. 
The ambulance had reached out to the town of Adams for financial help but the town's budget was set back in June. 
Ethier's statement commended the Adams Ambulance "for providing service to their communities for over 50 years!"
But, he said, its financial trouble "highlights the challenges EMS organizations are facing across the nation, especially in rural areas. The need for creative, collaborative solutions are imperative to ensure that the residents in our communities can receive high-quality pre-hospital care."

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Local Recovery Documentary to Premiere

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The public is invited to "Blueprint: Building the Foundation for Recovery," a new documentary featuring real stories of recovery in the Berkshires. 
The film is followed by a community conversation led by local experts including Dr. Jennifer Michaels from The Brien Center, Sarah DeJesus from BHS's Berkshire Harm Reduction, community members from the education field, emergency management, and individuals with lived experience. 
The two film premieres are the capstone events for the HEALing Communities Study (HCS). Wednesday, Dec. 13 at 7:00 pm at the MCLA Church Street Center in North Adams and Thursday, Dec. 14 at 7:00 pm at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield.
Events are free and open to the public. Pre-registration is requested but not required.
During the past 18 months, local partners from the harm reduction, treatment, and recovery communities have collaborated on a shared goal of reducing opioid overdoses. Over 30 partners from across the Berkshires joined together in the HEALing Communities Study to increase naloxone distribution, raise awareness of all pathways to treatment and recovery, and reduce stigma around substance use disorder.
Blueprint is a new documentary from Outpost Studios weaving together stories from our community with local behavioral health experts. George Cox and iin Purwanti of Outpost Studios have interviewed over a dozen community members for the feature, with original music by local artist Matt Cusson.
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