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EMS Volunteers Use New Treatment to Save A Life

Thu, 2015-07-16 12:04 -- John Staunton

Just 3 days after dedicating their new headquarters building, the Summit Volunteer First Aid Squad marked another milestone and this one was much more important: the first use of a new life-saving treatment.


Last Tuesday afternoon, the squad received 2 simultaneous reports of medical emergencies; the first at the Summit train station and the 2nd at the Starbucks on the corner of Beechwood Road and Union Place. Both were reports of cardiac arrest. The 3-member duty crew was in the new headquarters along with 1 off duty member and all 4 responded immediately with 2 ambulances.  The first crew found an unresponsive patient in the train station. Meanwhile, the 2nd crew quickly discovered that both 9-1-1 calls were for the same patient and went across the street to help at the train station scene.  After learning the patient had overdosed on the prescription drug Percocet, squad members administered the drug Naloxone, commonly known as Narcan and the patient began to breathe on his own.


Squad volunteers Mike D’Ecclessis, James Rath, Kate Getzendanner and Captain Kari Phair were the responders.


In recent years, overdose of heroin and other opiate based drugs have become one of the leading causes of death among young adults. Naloxone helps reverse the life-threatening effects of opiate overdose and has been shown to improve greatly the survival rate.


While the Naloxone treatment has been available to physicians and paramedics for many years, its use was not permitted by EMTs.  Last year Governor Christie signed an order enabling EMTs and Police officers to become trained to carry and administer the drug.  Summit First Aid Squad volunteers began taking that training last May and the Narcan kits were placed in service on all Summit ambulances in September.


The all-volunteer Summit First Aid Squad is always looking for new members to join its ranks. All needed training, uniforms and equipment is provided. For information, please call 908-277-9479, or CLICK HERE.