Just one tiny speck of the drug fentanyl is enough to be lethal.
Police and paramedics are already carrying Naloxone kits to counteract the effects of opioids, especially in an overdose. This kit can protect both the person who has overdosed and also the first responders who have arrived at the scene.
Emergency Health Services (EHS) Ambulance Operations recently announced a rollout of the first medical first responder (MFR) Naloxone program to fire departments and medical first responders agencies in some areas of the province, including Shelburne County departments.
Shelburne is one of five counties to be chosen for the pilot. The other four counties are Cape Breton, Lunenburg, Queens and Pictou. After Jan. 1, 2018, medical first responders and fire departments in the remaining counties will receive kits and training.
Chief Darrell Locke, with the Shelburne Volunteer Fire Department, says firefighters will be taking advantage of the training. He says the department has responded to two separate cases of fentanyl overdoses in Shelburne.
“The risk is high,” says Locke.
The department did not currently carry Naloxone, but had put in place a kit and protocol to follow in order to allow for some protection against the deadly drug.
“We are very concerned for our safety and bringing the danger home to our families,” says Locke. “Powder the size of a grain of salt is enough to be lethal."
The current kit contains face masks, gowns and booties for their feet that are properly disposed of after an overdose call.
The Shelburne firefighters, along with other departments in Shelburne County, will receive two hours of training by paramedics before getting the new Naloxone kits.