HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Huntsville Fire and Rescue is working to get the department equipped with the opioid reversal drug Narcan.
While it is a group effort between Huntsville Fire, Huntsville Police, and HEMSI responding to drug overdose emergency calls, Huntsville City Councilman Bill Kling says the fire department is often the first on scene.
“Because we have so many fire stations throughout the city, firefighter first responders can be just about anywhere in this city within three or four minutes, which is a very quick response time,” he explained.
Kling supports getting Huntsville Fire access to Narcan. Huntsville Fire Chief Mac McFarlen said the department’s been working on getting it for several months. Right now, if firefighters get to the scene first, they have to wait for HEMSI or police to arrive with the needed drug.
The chief added they have to have all the proper channels in place before implementation.
“Our folks are EMTs, we have to fall under medical protocol, which is a lot stricter than just anyone else that happens to have Narcan and give it to someone,” he said.
The department should soon be able to equip their nearly 400 fire EMTs and every response vehicle with the life-saving drug.
“Every EMT that we’ve got that’s able to respond will have this in their medical supply,” McFarlen stated.
But first, McFarlen said they must have proper training, logistical support to replenish supply, and a new record-keeping system. They hope to have Narcan training and implementation complete for the fire department in three to four weeks.