Safety Tips for First Responders

With drug use being a persistent issue, the ability of first responders to properly identify and react to an overdose is a critical skill. As heroin, in particular, becomes a greater problem, emergency workers are being forced to change their approaches and extend their training, according to an article in Fox 40 (

In Endwell, New York, the fire department has already seen a rise in calls relating to overdoses, presenting a risk in terms of both environment and treatment. With the fire department having responded to 30 heroin cases through 2015, the members have had the opportunity to learn the needed precautions.

As observed by Captain Jacob Polovach of the Endwell Fire Department to Fox 40, "I think it's more awareness than anything, just about safety precautions about different things that could be inside of the house, as far as needles, and trying not to come in contact with that stuff."

When treatment is deployed, however, there are even more precautions necessary. For treatment of overdose patients, it is not uncommon for the drug Narcan to be used. Unfortunately, the deployment of this treatment can result in a violent reaction, according to Fox 40. To help address this, Endwell emergency services are changing their procedures to ensure additional support is available, so as to prevent danger to responders in the form of one to one confrontations.

While these activities help reduce the risk to emergency responders, the ultimate goal is to encourage prevention, rather than reaction.