The Oldest Town in Massachusetts
In late March, 2013, the Town of Plymouth switched from American Medical Response (AMR) for their 9-1-1 emergency ambulance service to Brewster Ambulance. Fire Chief Ed Bradley said, "The move resulted from an erosion of confidence in the town's long-time provider, AMR." (Wicked Local article, "Plymouth to switch ambulance provider at noon Sunday," 3/27/13) The switch took place at noon on Sunday, March 31st, 2013, preempted by the town's invocation of the 120-day written termination notice clause in the existing contract with AMR, completed in December, 2012.
A Seamless Transition
18 AMR paramedics came over to Brewster Ambulance as new team members, bringing on board important town experience and knowledge from prior service. Brewster Ambulance was the sole provider of ambulance service to the town until until 1997, when George Brewster Sr. sold the business to the company that eventually became AMR.
Time for a Change
The Town of Plymouth had been evaluating the contract with AMR in 2012 after issues related to the lack of the provider's contract with Blue Cross Blue Shield, the town's primary insurance carrier. Layoffs, reduction of service and neighboring communities' mutual aid needs contributed to the town's decision to switch providers.
Five Plus five
The 2013 contract term was set at five years with an automatic five year renewal. It started with three dedicated ambulances based in the West Plymouth and Manomet fire stations, with Brewster maintaining an ambulance crew at the Cedarville fire station. A fourth dedicated ALS ambulance was added after Brewster studied the call volume and made the recommendation to the town, even though it was still early in the contract.
Brewster also stationed a back-up ambulance at the Pinehills station and a 4-wheel emergency response vehicle at the fire headquarters. This deployment included all new equipment and vehicles, synced with the town's vehicle locator system. Communications were set up to work with Plymouth County Sheriff's department, Beth Israel Deaconess Plymouth and local police and fire stations.
Getting The Right Service
The town worked with Brewster to make some additional changes to the contract which lengthened the original agreement. Brewster Ambulance will be serving Plymouth until at least 2026. There are a few paramedics still on the team who had worked back during the 90s for Brewster, who stayed in town and are now back in Brewster Ambulance uniforms.
Keeping Pace with Plymouth's Growth
Over the course of the last four years, Brewster Ambulance has added more trucks, crew and technology to serve the diverse needs of Plymouth. Between severe winters, marine unit needs (being a coastal town), state forest land, over one million annual visitors to Plymouth Rock and other historic attractions per year, the 134-square miles of Plymouth brings a variety of challenges for fire, law enforcement and EMS crews.
In 2020, Plymouth will be celebrating it's 400th year, having been founded in 1620. Record-breaking crowds are expected, and first responders and the town are already in early planning mode to prepare for the visitors.
Ample Bases with Strategic Coverage
To provide the best coverage to the expanse of Plymouth and nearby towns when mutual aid is necessary, Brewster worked closely with the town and fire chief to strategically place crews in stations with the right amount of vehicles to serve the town.
From a statistics perspective, Brewster Ambulance dispatched 6,774 calls in 2016-2017. Currently, Brewster operates out of five locations in Plymouth with approximately 60 paramedics on four dedicated 911 ambulances:
- 240 Samoset Street
- 2209 State Road
- 827 State Road
- 12 Pine Hills Drive
- 16R Obery Street
Having a positive EMS impact in Plymouth
Highlights of the coverage, community outreach and EMS expertise that Brewster Ambulance Service provides Plymouth includes:
- Drones to survey storm damage, search and overhead watch as well as aerial survey of frozen ponds for drowning victims and provide assistance to the Plymouth Police department
- Community training and education in CPR
- Provide event coverage and first-aid tents during community events and holidays
- Smart911™ service roll out in 2014
- Offer high school students/grads (18 years old and up) chair car driver training and education in EMT school, issuing certificates after passing the state written and practical exams with a full benefit positions with Brewster Ambulance Service
- Rolled out Toradol program in 2017 for non-addictive pain relief to help reduce opioid abuse
- Providing mutual aid support/coverage to nearby communities of Kingston and Bourne as well as helping them operate their own ambulance service and similar programs in their towns
- Partnering with Plymouth Police to conduct Active Shooter Training at Quincy College in Cordage Park
- Free training to Plymouth firefighters on the use of Narcan
- Marine unit EMS support with aerial drone deployment