The NVFC Supports the Release of Unified Fentanyl Safety Recommendations for First Responders

On November 1, 2017, the White House announced the release of Fentanyl Safety Recommendations for First Responders. The increased prevalence of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids in the illicit drug market means that first responders need to understand how to protect themselves from exposure in the field. Law enforcement, fire, rescue, and emergency medical services (EMS) personnel must balance safety with mobility and efficiency when responding to scenes where the presence of fentanyl is suspected.

The Fentanyl Safety Recommendations for First Responders provides unified, scientific, evidence-based recommendations to first responders so they can protect themselves when the presence of fentanyl is suspected during the course of their daily activities, such as responding to overdose calls. The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) supports the release of these recommendations as a critical first step in keeping first responders safe in the field.

The recommendations are the result of a federal Interagency Working Group coordinated by the White House National Security Council. Stakeholder associations and organizations including the NVFC provided invaluable input to inform the Interagency Working Group’s efforts, and the feedback helped ensure the recommendations are operationally relevant, appropriately tailored to first responders, and conveyed in a user-friendly one-page format.

“The opioid crisis is ravaging communities across the nation, particularly in rural America,” said NVFC Chair Kevin D. Quinn. “In response, volunteer fire and EMS agencies are experiencing call volume spikes, increased costs, and having to adopt new protocols. The NVFC supports these recommendations, which provide critical information to first responders on how to protect themselves from exposure.”

Medical experts agree that most daily encounters involving the presence of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids do not present significant health concerns to first responder when appropriate protective actions are taken. The recommendations fall into three specific categories:

  • Actions first responders can take to protect themselves from exposure.
  • Actions first responders can take when exposure occurs.
  • Actions first responders can take when they or their partners exhibit signs of intoxication.

Access the Fentanyl Safety Recommendations for First Responders at https://www.whitehouse.gov/ondcp/key-issues/fentanyl.