Ambulance response times a concern in some Berkshire County communities

DALTON, Mass. (NEWS10) – Some communities in the Berkshires are waiting up to 40 minutes for an ambulance.

In an emergency, minutes matter and for rural areas in the Berkshires those minutes are adding up and putting lives at risk.

“I think it’s a critical situation in Berkshire County,” Gerald Cahalan, Dalton Fire Chief, said.

Cahalan says a lack of volunteer EMTs has small communities calling in ambulances from Pittsfield.

“I think the public is not aware of this problem. I think they think it’s normal to wait 40 minutes. We’re sitting on the scene sweating going oh my God.”

When towns like Dalton, can’t staff their own ambulances and resources are taken away from the City of Pittsfield.

“If that ambulance is now over in the town of Richmond, down in the town of Lenox lee someplace else, it now provides a challenge for our residents,” Robert Czerwinski, Pittsfield Fire Chief, said.

This year, Czerwinski says there have been 15 times when there wasn’t a single ambulance in Pittsfield and any delay can be deadly.

“That eats into that treatment time for the patient to get to the hospital.”

Emergency medical services of Berkshire County is working on devising a plan to get more volunteers in the door.

“You’re talking people with two jobs, families, kids, so that is a big part of the issue there’s not a lot to go around,” Cahalan said.

With an aging population, the county expects more and more calls and a solution is in dire need.

Training is demanding and it’s a big commitment, but if you’d like to volunteer, check in with your local fire station.

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