Drug Safety for First Responders (new USFRA group shares safety data about carfentanil, fentanyl, etc)

May 7, 2017

by Janet Liebsch – USFRA Executive VP and Fedhealth VP

In 2016 the U.S. First Responders Association shared a few safety posts and warnings to members and the public about carfentanil and fentanyl, however we recently shared a photo (seen here) with a warning to responders about carfentanil on a USFRA facebook post and it reached over 4 million people in less than a week!

Thousands of replies on the post were all over the map, and unfortunately many commenters went off topic since it was a public post with over 33,000+ shares, so people (a vast majority were not first responders) were arguing and debating overdoses, the war on drugs, rehab and more. There were also some great questions and posts from professionals in the field.

The main point of the post is warning medics, police and firefighters if they find drugs on a patient to be extremely careful when handling them since carfentanil recently landed 2 first responders in the hospital from inhaling dust while closing a ziploc bag a patient had. And the vials compare the potential lethal amounts of heroin, fentanyl and carfentanil.

Responders have been dealing with fentanyl for years, and carfentanil–a tranquilizing agent for elephants and other large mammals–started appearing in OD cases last summer. But carfentanil is really spreading across the country now since it is being cut into street drugs and/or sold as heroin creating a deadly nightmare for public safety, first responder, medical, treatment, and laboratory personnel.

For those not familiar with carfentanil, it is a synthetic opioid that is 10,000 times more potent than morphine and 100 times more potent than fentanyl, which itself is 50 times more potent than heroin.

The lethal dose range for carfentanil in humans is unknown; however, since it is approximately 100 times more potent than fentanyl, it could be lethal at the 200-microgram to 2-milligram range, depending on route of administration and other factors. Some U.S. and Canadian officials even say just 20 micrograms of carfentanil could be lethal.

With overdose cases increasing exponentially and so many questions and concerns from responders to our 4/30 post, USFRA setup a new group called “Drug Safety for First Responders” where we are sharing information and safety data about fentanyl, carfentanil and other drugs ~ especially as it relates to scene and personal safety.

Many fentanyl-related compounds are lethal and could be absorbed through the skin or inhaled. Law enforcement, Fire/EMS, health professionals and volunteers on-scene and at receiving facilities (e.g. hospitals, jails, etc.) should learn about these dangers and carefully follow safety protocols to avoid accidental exposure.

Some examples of articles posted the first week include:

DEA warnings to first responders about carfentanil and fentanyl (Post includes information from DEA’s official alert from late 2016 about the lethal dangers of these synthetic opioids plus has some on-scene safety tips for responding personnel)

K9s teams be on alert for fentanyl and carfentanil during searches (Article discusses how K-9 teams must be vigilant anytime they arrive on scene of a drug related and/or overdose call (and even when searching suspects) ~ esp. since deadly synthetic opioids are being cut into heroin, cocaine, etc. Drug dogs could be exposed to fentanyl and carfentanil by inhalation or absorbed through their paw pads. Agencies are starting to carry Narcan to treat a suffering K-9 before symptoms get out of control.)

“Gray death” combo drug includes heroin, fentanyl, carfentanil and U-47700 … and Columbus first responders prepare for new drug called Gray Death (These 2 posts discuss a new and dangerous drug combination called “gray death” found so far in Alabama, Georgia and Ohio. It’s a combination of several opioids including heroin, fentanyl, carfentanil and a synthetic opioid called U-47700, it looks like concrete mix, and varies in consistency from a hard, chunky material to a fine powder.) and

Please use this Drug Safety for First Responders group (and other USFRA networks and forums) to share safety tips, protocols, articles and other discussions and experiences from the field. Members and visitors are welcome to read and share articles, events, classifieds and more on our site, and follow USFRA on Facebook and Twitter.

Bill and I encourage all responders and volunteers to join the U.S. First Responders Association at www.usfra.org and invite your friends and colleagues too.

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CDC Blast Injury mobile application (free iPhone or iPad app for first responders)

April 29, 2017

The CDC Blast Injury app supports pre-hospital and hospital healthcare providers and public health professionals in preparing for and responding to terrorist bombings and other mass casualty explosive events.

Healthcare providers and public health professionals can use the application to:

  • Quickly review critical steps to take from the moment an event happens.
  • Learn blast injury patterns and treatment considerations.
  • Scan information efficiently with minimal effort on the way to or at a scene and grasp clinical guidance to support key job functions.
  • Access medical surge capacity guidance including information on facilitating health systems emergency communication.
  • Find special populations treatment considerations (e.g., women who are pregnant, children)
  • Link to the full breadth of CDC’s resources on blast injuries and mass casualty explosive events.

The CDC Blast Injury app for iPhone or iPad is available for free on iTunes


Inside a State Emergency Operations Center

April 9, 2017

Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes during a disaster?

Minnesota Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) created a brief video of their State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) during a simulated activation that shows what staff do to coordinate the state’s response when an emergency situation occurs.

This video was the first in a series that highlights the different divisions within MN Department of Public Safety in case your agency or dept may want to do similar projects.  Find more DPS MIC’D UP videos on their MnDPS channel


Fedhealth donates portion of all book sales to USFRA to help nation’s first responders

March 11, 2017

Fedhealth, an independent publisher, announced it will be donating a portion of all book orders going forward to support first responders across America.

“We have worked very closely with the United States First Responders Association for years and are committed to help them continue to support our nation’s firefighters, EMTs, law enforcement, active duty military and veterans,” said Fedhealth President and CEO Bill Liebsch. “USFRA’s mission fits perfectly with our “Funding Our Heroes” goals.

Janet Liebsch, Fedhealth Vice President is also Executive Vice President of USFRA and their Disaster Information Specialist. “I have been honored to work with this wonderful organization of professionals and have seen the struggles that first responders deal with financially at their departments, as well as physically, mentally and emotionally in their personal lives. This is a way for us to give back to our country’s heroes through existing and planned USFRA programs and resources.”

Starting this month Fedhealth will donate up to 13% of all bulk IT’S A DISASTER! …and what are YOU gonna do about it? book orders to USFRA with their “Funding Our Heroes” program.

Many disaster education and relief organizations across North America use IT’S A DISASTER! as public education materials for communities before and following a crisis or emergency since the book explains what people should think about and do before, during and after specific types of scenarios, as well as how to administer basic first aid.

The latest version also includes some tips on how to respond during an active shooter incident using data contributed by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency.

Bill and Janet Liebsch, Fedhealth founders and co-authors and publishers of IT’S A DISASTER!, currently discount their 266-page customizable preparedness and first aid manuals up to 70% off list on 10 copies or more (or only $4.50 U.S. delivered). The deeply discounted price helps families, small businesses, volunteer groups, churches and others get this life-saving data into the hands of their employees, members and loved ones’ hands, plus books can be personalized at no additional charge.

Books can be customized in the print process in larger quantities (1,000 units and up) and an upgrade option offers up to 288 additional pages to be added to the preparedness and first aid manuals so businesses, groups or communities can include local emergency information, advertisements, sponsorship data and more.

And now the founders’ new consulting company, Fedhealth Services Corp, can help manage and facilitate large community-wide book projects and FSC will share advertising revenues with local first responders, chambers and other partners while educating the public and saving them money with discounts and freebies supplied by local and national advertisers. Plus the Liebsches will donate a portion of each bulk order to USFRA going forward in support of their “Funding Our Heroes” program.

For more information visit www.fedhealth.net/funding-our-heroes.html

 

About USFRA

The U.S. First Responders Association (USFRA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization comprised of a network of colleagues from Law Enforcement, Fire, Rescue, EMS as well as all divisions of the military. USFRA’s goal is to work together to strengthen safety initiatives, develop enhanced training programs and combine efforts to maximize community outreach programs. USFRA is one of the few national nonprofits that embrace all aspects of first response. Long term goals include educational and scholarship programs for youth interested in a career in first response and assistance with displaced veterans. www.usfra.org

 

About Fedhealth

Since 1999 Fedhealth has worked with officials and organizations across North America to get preparedness and safety information out to the public while donating millions in cash and match benefits to First Responders and nonprofit groups. www.fedhealth.net


FSC custom book project helps fund first responders and prepare communities

February 16, 2017

fsc-logoSince 1999 we (Bill and Janet Liebsch) have worked with city, county, state and federal agencies, businesses, nonprofits and others across North America providing our custom It’s A Disaster! books in bulk for their respective communities.

And, for the past few years, we’ve been offering our revenue sharing ideas associated with the larger custom book option (i.e. adding 48 to 288+ extra pages for advertisements, etc.)

Many clients want to do large custom book projects for their communities, but more often than not, coordinators are too busy to take on this type of project … or, in some cases, they aren’t allowed to ~ esp. agency coordinators.

So … we recently formed a new consulting company called Fedhealth Services Corp to help facilitate and manage custom book projects that will benefit local emergency management and first responder agencies, nonprofits, businesses and the general public at large.

FSC can help your community

Basically any agency, CERT, MRC, VOAD, nonprofit or other contact can provide FSC some key contacts in their community (e.g. Chambers, Rotary Clubs, Kiwanis, LEPC chairs, EM coordinators, etc.), and we can reach out to them on that coordinator’s behalf and help manage a bulk custom book deal.

disaster_books_gi-4x2FSC can work directly with Chambers, Rotary Clubs or other business groups encouraging members to place ads inside books for pennies on the dollar. The goal is to offer discounts and freebies to local residents helping them save money year round.

The money raised can purchase custom books PLUS we will share revenue back with Chambers and other business groups / partners, local first responders and project coordinators.

We can also work with local emergency and city/county officials to ensure their preparedness messages, plans and other data for residents and businesses are included in custom books.

For example, let’s say a small city or county wants 5,000 customized books using 250 pages for coupons and discounts for the public + 50 pages for local emergency information wrapped around our 266-page disaster preparedness and first aid manual.

And the coordinator refers FSC to a local Chamber and their members pay only 16 cents per page (less than a postcard) for a color ad on glossy paper.

That means the total cost to advertisers would be $800 for a full page color ad (or $400 for 1/2 pg, $200 for 1/4 pg, or only $100 for 1/8 pg ad) that appears in all 5,000 books. Plus the Chamber (and others) will make money for helping put this deal together!

In other words… 5,000 books with 250 pages of color ads @ $0.16 per page could generate:

fsc-5k-book-example

Benefits for Chambers and other partners

Chambers and other business groups who work with FSC on a custom book project can…

  • Earn revenue back from members’ ad purchases = new profit center;
  • Brand book project as a Chamber (or Rotary, etc.) sponsored whole community preparedness savings program;
  • Help fund your local first responders and emergency managers;
  • Promote Chamber (or Rotary Club, etc.) on a free page or 2 in book;
  • Recruit new members by offering a discount on annual dues if they purchase an ad;
  • Encourage members to offer discounts and freebies on day-to-day products and services;
  • Generate excitement in the community since people will save so much money they will want a new book every year;
  • Become a hero to your members for being involved in something so beneficial to the community and so affordable ~ especially since books and ads stay in front of people year-round. And, by offering extremely discounted ad rates as shown above, it allows all sizes of businesses to participate.

FSC can structure projects and donations back to the various groups in whatever manner works best for each community and partner.

It’s a true Whole Community public-private partnership program that generously funds nonprofits, agencies, volunteer groups, civic clubs and others while helping our nation become more prepared and resilient.

Learn more at www.fedhealthsc.com or download & share a 2-page PDF handout or call FSC at 520-907-2153 to plan out a book project for YOUR community … and let’s make a difference together!

Note: FSC will donate a portion of all proceeds to the U.S. First Responders Association.

FSC custom book preparedness program


Volunteer Firefighter crisis (statistics, obstacles + some creative recruitment resources)

March 21, 2015

Photo: City of Mankato MN A dramatic decline in the number of volunteer firefighters, particularly young ones, threatens the ability of small departments to provide an essential public service.

Most people may not think this potential crisis impacts them, however almost 70% of firefighters across the nation are volunteers.

And it’s not just about fighting fires since most calls are for emergency medical services.

For the first time in 28 years, the majority of volunteer firefighters in the U.S. are over the age of 50, according to a firefighter profile released in November by the National Fire Protection Association. And while the number of on-call firefighters is decreasing, the demand for fire and rescue services is increasing.

Some Volunteer Fire Service statistics

The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) says in 2013 there were an estimated 30,052 U.S. fire departments and 19,807 of them were all volunteer.

According to the National Volunteer Fire Council

  • Volunteers comprise 69% of firefighters in the United States. Of the total estimated 1,140,750 volunteer and paid firefighters across the country, 786,150 are volunteer.
  • Communities served by volunteer firefighters depend on them to be their first line of defense for many types of emergencies. Volunteer firefighters are summoned to a wide array of emergencies across the country every day including fires, emergency medical incidents, terrorist events, natural disasters, hazardous materials incidents, water rescue emergencies, high-angle and confined space emergencies, and other general public service calls. The public relies on the volunteer emergency services to be their first line of defense in these emergencies. Volunteers spend an enormous amount of time training to prepare for these emergencies.
  • Small and mid-sized communities rely heavily on volunteer firefighters. Small communities (populations under 10,000) across the U.S. are typically protected by all volunteer departments. In some cases, however, these communities have hired a few paid firefighters to assist. Mid-sized communities (populations above 10,000) are typically served by combination volunteer and paid departments. Large communities (populations over 100,000) are most often protected by combination volunteer and paid departments that consist of primarily paid staff. There are few strictly paid fire departments in the U.S., but those that exist are primarily found in very urban areas.


Recruitment Obstacles

The Citizen-Times.com writes in 1980, a firefighter needed only 36 hours of training. Today that number has grown to 250 hours to obtain firefighter certification. Earning the certification can take up to a year for someone working a regular job and taking the training in the evenings.

Because fire departments have expanded the scope of their duties to include answering emergency medical calls, many firefighters also are emergency medical technicians, which requires another 100 to 250+ hours of training.

vfd-willing-to-doAs Mount Pleasant Fire Department Chief Larry McRae recently explained at a County Commissioners meeting, “We require them to attend numerous hours of training. We look for people to be willing to go into a structure fire or approach a burning vehicle to save someone’s life. We ask them to expose themselves to contagious disease, use their personal vehicles, pay for their costs to replace their clothing, be available to respond at any time day or night, seven days a week in any kind of weather and under potentially stressful and life-threatening circumstances.”

“And we are asking them to do this for no pay,” McRae said. “And then we ask them to work at their volunteer fire department fundraisers.”

NVFC states volunteers typically contribute 20 to 100 hours per month or more.

McRae said without volunteers, the fire departments in the county can’t offer the fire and rescue protection to residents they are commissioned to offer. Aside from the safety repercussions, insurance service office ratings can cause home insurance rates for homeowners to go up several hundred dollars a year in communities without a fire department or volunteer fire department.

Creative recruitment ideas & tools

Below are some creative recruitment ideas, resources and vids to share with family, friends, co-workers, local officials, schools and youth groups. If you can contribute your time and energy, please consider becoming a volunteer or at least talk to your local Fire Department to see if there are ways to support them operationally and/or financially.

And speaking of financial assistance… please share our programs associated with our customizable IT’S A DISASTER! preparedness and first aid manual since ideas can help fund and support volunteers, agencies and others. Visit www.fedhealth.net or call Fedhealth at 1-888-999-4325.

Maine Pension Program: Maine State Federation of Firefighters is working hard to try and recruit more volunteer firefighters, and to promote state legislation that aims to support the firefighters.  L.D. 164, An Act To Establish the Maine Length of Service Award Program, would create the framework for a statewide pension-type program under which volunteers such as firefighters or emergency medical service providers eventually would receive a pension. The bill would pay for the program through a tax on consumer fireworks writes Bangor Daily News.

The SERVE Act: This bill, introduced in 2013 and one of the National Volunteer Fire Council’s legislative priorities, is designed to help local volunteer emergency services agencies recruit and retain personnel. It would provide a $1000 tax credit to volunteer firefighters and volunteer emergency workers. Two other bills (Volunteer Responder Incentive Protection Reauthorization Act (VRIPRA) and Volunteer Emergency Responders Tax Deduction Act) are also up for a vote in Congress. Read more at WBNG.com and IAFC.org

WHHC free room & board: A volunteer fire department in Lycoming County Ohio is looking for recruits and has something that could entice young firefighters writes WNEP.com. The Willing Hand Hose Company offers free room and board for college students who will respond to ambulance calls, fire calls, accidents and more. The fire house has been upgraded with all new amenities, including an updated kitchen, living quarters, and a TV room. Not only are the live-ins getting free room and board but they are also getting professional training which would cost them thousands to do on their own.

Fire Corps: The NVFC has also been instrumental in the launch of Fire Corps, a national initiative to recruit community members into local fire and EMS departments to perform non-emergency roles. This allows department members to focus on training and emergency response while at the same time increasing the services and programs the department can offer. Fire Corps is a component of the DHS’s Citizen Corps initiative and is administered on a national level by the NVFC. For more information, visit www.firecorps.org .

1-800-FIRE-LINE: In addition, the NVFC administers the 1-800-FIRE-LINE national recruitment campaign in an effort to boost the ranks in the volunteer fire service both operationally and non-operationally. Community members can call the toll-free 1-800-FIRE-LINE number from anywhere in the country to learn about the firefighter, EMS, and Fire Corps opportunities in their community. The campaign also includes resources for fire departments and state fire associations to implement and market the campaign. Learn more at www.1800fireline.org.

NVFC Retention and Recruitment tools: The National Volunteer Fire Council has many helpful resources, Best Practices, videos and PSAs and other tools on their Retention and Recruitment section.  Also learn more about other NVFC programs and services at www.nvfc.org or call 1-888-ASK-NVFC.

National Junior Firefighter Program Recruitment Video: Junior firefighter program advisors and department leaders can use this short video, which features juniors participating and explaining their interest in junior firefighting and their plans for their future, to recruit youth for their program at the local level. The video can be downloaded and taken to schools, community organizations, or department open houses to educate youth and adults about the benefit of junior firefighter programs.

Why I Chose Fire: Next Generation Volunteer Video: This 9-minute video features inspirational interviews with diverse first responders about why they love volunteering and what inspired them to get involved in the fire/EMS services. The videos articulate what potential volunteer firefighters need to know to be successful today and in the future. Click here to download a free copy of Why I Chose Fire: Next Generation from the Fire 20/20 web site, and learn how to get a customized version for your department or organization.


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