In an effort to combat the ever-increasing dangers associated with opioid drug use, Lexington County Fire Service firefighters will now carry and administer Narcan for patients suffering from symptoms of an overdose.
Narcan works as an opioid antagonist which can completely, or partially, reverse the symptoms of an opioid overdose. It has become a critical tool for emergency responders in the fight against opioid abuse and addiction. Each LCFS fire unit will carry two doses of Narcan.
“Lexington County firefighters are all trained in basic life-support care and are oftentimes called upon to first respond for critical medical calls,” Lexington County Emergency Services Director David Kerr said. “The issuance of Narcan to our fire units allows for more avenues for a patient to receive the life-saving drug as quickly as possible when the need arises.”
From August 1, 2018 to Aug. 1, 2019, Lexington County emergency responders answered 223 calls for service where Narcan was administered during the call. This fact represents the importance of equipping firefighters, who are often the first on the scene of critical medical emergency. This program will allow for the medication to reach patients even faster, restoring breathing and protecting a patient’s airways.
LCFS firefighters were trained on the utilization of Narcan by members of Lexington County Emergency Medical Service, who are authorized to provide this training through the Department of Health and Environmental Control and the South Carolina Fire Academy. The initiative to equip LCFS firefighters with Narcan was made possible through a SCDHEC grant.
This grant is part of the effort at the state level to reduce the opioid loss of life (ROLL) by equipping first responders with this life saving drug. This initiative began with law enforcement officer Narcan (LEON) program, which also allowed for pharmacies to provide Narcan to family members of narcotic abusers to better be able to save the lives of their loved ones who fall victim to this deadly epidemic.