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Local firefighters get equipped for opioid overdose calls

‘The Collingwood Fire Department responds to over 246 medical emergencies annually,' said Fire Chief Ross Parr. 'One area of great concern is the responses due to overdoses from opioid drugs.'
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Collingwood’s firefighters have been trained to administer medication to treat opioid overdose and anaphylaxis shock.

Fire Chief Ross Parr gave a report to the Corporate and Community Services Standing Committee on April 9 asking for council to endorse the training and delivery of the upgrade to the fire department’s medical response.

‘The Collingwood Fire Department responds to over 246 medical emergencies annually,” said Parr in his report. “One area of great concern is the responses due to overdoses from opioid drugs.”

He went on to say the fire department management and the County of Simcoe Paramedics “believe that equipping and training our firefighters to properly administer a drug called Naloxone would save lives.”

In the past, firefighters have been trained in standard first aid, CPR and EMR with oxygen administration. They also receive AED training.

This week, Collingwood firefighters were trained on the use of both epinephrine and Narcan, which is a nasal spray version of Naloxone to block the effects of opioid drugs.

Parr said Collingwood Fire Department vehicles will be equipped with Narcan and epinephrine by the middle to end of May.

The dangers that occur during an overdose of opioid drugs (including fentanyl, morphine, heroin, methadone and oxycodone) is that it can cause slow or stopped breathing. Naloxone can reverse those effects within one to three minutes and allow the person to breathe normally again for 30 to 90 minutes.

According to Parr’s report, Naloxone cannot be abused or overdosed, and it has no adverse side effects if used on a healthy person.

“Fire management believes that equipping our firefighters with the proper training and use of Narcan, our department will save lives,” said Parr in his report.




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