BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
WEVER – This week Wever Fire & Rescue became one of the first in the state to begin carrying Narcan (Naloxone) for use in the community to respond to opioid overdoses.
Bryor McMillen, a captain with Wever Fire, said the main distributor for Narcan in the state told him they are one of the first fire departments to carry the drug.
“They are the main distributor in Iowa and when I talked to him this week he said we were one of the first.,” McMillen said.
In January, all of the agency’s Emergency Medical Responders (EMRs) and Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) were trained on the use of the drug to combat the growing trend of opioid overdoses. Instruction on the administration of Narcan consisted of approved training and hands-on experience.
The move comes after the Iowa Legislature approved the use of the drug for first responders in 2016. The drug reverses the effect of opioids which include heroin and prescription drugs like morphine, codeine, oxycodone, methadone, and Vicodin. The CDC says more than 33,000 people died from opioid overdose in 2015, with the number increasing rapidly. Opioids suppress the body’s respiratory system and results in death; Narcan completely reverses those effects.
“Our goal is to be a proactive EMS and fire suppression agency. We strive to provide the best possible care for any individual in our jurisdiction, when someone calls for help, we will be there, McMillen said.” “Narcan isn’t just for drug abusers, this drug will work on children if they accidentally get into their parents’ medicine cabinet. It will also work on individuals in too much pain to realize how much they are taking until it’s too late.”
Lee County Sheriff Stacy Weber said he has budgeted to begin carrying Narcan in the new budget year beginning July 1.
Wever Fire & Rescue provides EMS care to the EMT level, fire suppression, hazardous materials initial response, rescue at motor vehicle collisions, and any other emergency when someone needs assistance. They responded to nearly 200 calls for service in 2016, utilizing an all-volunteer team.
“All of our 27 firefighters and EMT’s will agree, there is no better feeling than making our community a better place to live. We are very proud to be the ones people call when they are in need. Our rigorous level of constant training provides that for the people of Wever and surrounding areas.”