Training to protect town residents


The Harrison Fire Department has trained all of its 28 members, along with director Harold Stahl and administrative secretary Amy Tanski-Thiry, in the application of the opiate antidote Naloxone, it was announced last week.

It’s a policy decision that has been replicated by many police and fire departments in the region, including communities in The Observer’s coverage area.

Naloxone is sold under its brand name and is commonly referred to as Narcan.

HFD spokesman Firefighter Ray Tremer III said firefighters were trained by Community Safety Consultants of Metuchen in an eight-hour class conducted on each of the four tours.

HFD members were shown how to deploy the Narcan through two routes: through a mist-style spray applied through the nostrils and through an auto injector similar to an epi-pen.

The HPD is now equipped with six doses of the spray and Engine 3, which is sent on first-responder falls, will always have at least one, with a backup readily available at the firehouse.

As a dose is used, it will be replaced.

Opioids include heroin and prescription pain pills such as morphine, codeine, oxycodone, methadone and Vicodin. When someone overdoses on an opioid, breathing can slow down or stop completely. Narcan is a prescription medicine that can reverse an overdose by blocking the effects of opioids.

The Narcan starts to wear off after 30 minutes of deployment, but can last for up to 90 minutes. Still, immediate transport to a hospital is essential to ensure that the patient does not return the original state.

Despite the availability of this lifesaving medicine, the HFD “continues to see a rise in the call volume for opiate overdose,” Tremer said.

Still, what the anti-opioid drug does do is to “give us the opportunity as first responders to counteract the opiate and give people a second chance. … New Jersey as a whole is aggressively tackling the war on drugs and addiction. With the addition of Narcan, the HFD now joins the front lines in this battle.”

As an additional public safety measure, the HFD also recently joined with representatives of SUNOCOOil Co. in familiarizing firefighters with the company’s distribution trucks and the ins and outs of how it transports products over the roads.

SUNOCO is only one of many such outfits that moves oil and other chemicals through local, county and state roads traversing Harrison.

Ron Leir

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