PeoplesBank funds 2nd disinfecting device for Amherst ambulances

  • Amherst Fire Chief Walter “Tim” Nelson speaks during a 9/11 commemoration at the Central Station on Sept. 11, 2019. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 4/15/2020 1:02:19 PM

AMHERST — Recognizing the dangers paramedics could face during the COVID-19 pandemic, a resident recently launched a fundraiser to ensure that the town’s ambulances are properly disinfected between runs.

Pip Stromgren, whose son, Lindsay, is an assistant fire chief for the Amherst Fire Department, put out the appeal so the department can buy a second ClorDisys Lantern, a portable ultraviolet device similar to one hospitals use to disinfect their operating rooms.

On Tuesday, Stromgren learned that PeoplesBank would cover the full cost of getting the second tool, estimated to cost $3,750.

Using the same amount of money from emergency funds in the department budget, one of the devices was recently purchased and put into use.

Fire Chief Walter “Tim” Nelson said the idea of acquiring it came from the Northampton Fire Department, which was already using the tool on its ambulances. 

“One of the things that spurred us was the whole coronavirus,” Nelson said. “It’s a very clean and efficient way to decontaminate.”

Nelson said an individual can place the device in an ambulance, turn it on and then return in 30 minutes to an hour to find the interior decontaminated.

But since Amherst has a Central and North fire station, having just one device makes it difficult to use on all the ambulances and the living quarters at both locations.

Stromgren said she is always mindful of the welfare of the firefighters and the patients they serve.

“I decided to start the campaign because I know all the EMTs and worry about them getting the coronavirus,” Stromgren said.

Though the fundraiser is no longer needed, she said donations can still help, such as to purchase carrying cases for the devices.

When it’s not in use by paramedics, Stromgren said, the police department might also be able to borrow the device for use in its cruisers and parts of the station.

Nelson said having a second ClorDisys Lantern will make firefighters safer in a quicker amount of time.

Stromgren, he said, is a “dynamo” who is always looking after the welfare of firefighters and paramedics.

“She’s really great and has always been about what she can do for the fire department,” Nelson said.

Anyone who wishes to make a donation can send it to Town of Amherst Fire Department with a note that it is for the ClorDisys Lantern, and then mailed to Chief Nelson, P.O. Box 654, Amherst 01004.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at
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