09 February 2022
Firefighters can now volunteer to carry the opiate overdose reversal medication.
As part of a project funded by the Scottish Government, firefighters will now be offered training in carrying naloxone and recognising the signs of an opioid overdose.
Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) now joins the Scottish Ambulance Service and Police Scotland in carrying the medication. Recognising an overdose and carrying naloxone is part of the Stop the Deaths campaign which aims to reduce the number of drug-related deaths in Scotland.
As frontline emergency service workers, firefighters will frequently be the first to respond to incidents within the communities they serve. Having a network of SFRS staff across the country volunteer to use naloxone is a way of further increasing the chances of a positive outcome for those experiencing an overdose.
During a visit to Bathgate Community Fire Station, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:
“SFRS staff regularly interact with the public during operational incidents, prevention and protection work and community engagement and it is reassuring to know that if they come across a situation involving an opioid overdose that volunteers will be able to administer naloxone while they wait for an ambulance to arrive.”
Assistant Chief Officer Stuart Stevens, SFRS Director of Service Delivery said:
“We will fully support volunteers within SFRS to complete training to safely administer naloxone to help prevent avoidable drug deaths from overdoses. This project highlights our commitment to working with partners to improve the safety and wellbeing of the people of Scotland.”
With emergency services supporting this campaign and volunteering for training, naloxone is becoming an increasingly prominent tool in the prevention of drug-related deaths.
Kirsten Horsburgh, Strategy Coordinator (drug death prevention) at SDF said:
“The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service involvement in preventing drug deaths with naloxone is hugely welcome. In addition to Police Scotland and the Scottish Ambulance Service, the carriage of naloxone by all emergency services not only increases the chances of being able to assist someone who is overdosing, but also demonstrates a powerful message that the lives of people who use drugs matter.”
SDF offers an e-learning course in Overdose Prevention, Intervention and Naloxone. Register for the course here.