All NYC Ambulance Workers To Carry Epipens

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fdny amb.jpgFire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta announced plans April 3 to begin carrying doses of epinephrine on all FDNY ambulances as an additional precautionary lifesaving tool. FDNY already carries the drug on Advanced Life Support (ALS) ambulances – which comprise about a third of the fleet – where it is administered by paramedics to treat patients in anaphylactic shock. Under the new policy, emergency medical technicians on Basic Life Support (BLS) ambulances will carry “EpiPens,” which contain a ready-to-administer standard dose of epinephrine.

“New Yorkers already receive the best emergency medical care around. We’re constantly looking for ways to make it even better and anticipate every possible scenario,” Commissioner Scoppetta said. “Placing EpiPens on Basic Life Support ambulances provides an additional safeguard for anyone out there at risk for anaphylactic shock.”

Although 911 calls for anaphylactic shock typically receive an ALS ambulance, BLS crews could be asked to respond to those cases if a distressed caller gives incomplete or inaccurate information to an emergency dispatcher. In rare cases where an ALS ambulance is further from the scene of such an emergency, a BLS ambulance might be first on scene and could use the EpiPen to administer the drug to an anaphylactic shock patient sooner.

Anaphylactic shock, brought on by severe allergic reactions, causes rapid constriction of the airway and can lead to respiratory failure. Epinephrine prevents worsening of the airway constriction and stimulates the heart to continue beating, and may be life-saving. The change should take effect in the coming months.

(YWN-32 / YWN-35 / YWN-112)

8 COMMENTS

  1. Hatzolah BLS members already carry it.

    If the City really is really “constantly looking for ways to make it even better” they should consider boosting their response time which is a disaster.

    You think Hatzolah’s response to Brighton Beach at 4am is bad? Call 911.

  2. I have a friend of mine whos father passed away. He called Hatzolah at 2am, and the first responder arrived 14 minutes later. The FDNY has an average cardiac response time of 6 minutes.
    I’m not here to chalilah knock hatzolah, but before you criticize the FD, get your facts correct.

  3. Neither of these issues are as simple as they seem. Epi Pens are not without their dangers: there needs to be good training and follow-up. There are conditions that can be confused with anaphylactic shock that would be made worse with an Epi Pen.
    As for response times, Hatzolah has a better average response time then FDNY. But it is only an average. In any system doing tens-of-thousands of calls, there are going to be outliers.

  4. just a question, what do you think the response time of the FDNY would be if they had the abitily to respond in their private cars just like hatzalah does, or if they had members anywhere at anytime like hatzalah does???

  5. you complain about the response time of the FDNY, what do you think the response times for the FDNY would be if they had the ability to respond in the way that hatzalah does, in cars not ambulances,also what do you think that the response time be if they had many members anywhere and time able to respond, think about that!

  6. Yes, Hatzolah certainly has a better average response time, and nycparamedic, you are right: FDNY does not have the inherent advantages of Hatzalah regarding the factors you mention. B”H we have Hatzolah, as due to the nature and structure of their operations, not to mention the exceeding devotion of these selfless volunteers, many lives have been saved.

    charliehall: There may not have been a systematic comparison, but countless can tell of calling both Hatzolah and another entity, with Hatzolah responding within minutes and others showing up much, much later. Recently, a friend suffered a heart attack. Both 911 and Hatzolah were called. Hatzolah arrived 1.5 minutes later. For some unexplained reason, the other responders arrived a few hours later. I’m sure this was an abberation, but I think there is significant anecdotal evidence that points to a clinically significant difference in response time.

  7. Folks, R-E-L-A-X!

    The problem with the FDNY response time has nothing to do with the rank and file techs who are -for the most part- hard working, competent and caring individuals. It is more of a management problem.

    Also, the FDNY is overloaded with crank calls and GMG calls which is a big burden for the department.

    Furthermore the FDNY does not have enough ambulances manned in a lot of areas. For instance, in the Brighton beach – Coney Island area it can take up to 25 minutes AFTER Hatzolah’s 1st responder arrives to get an ambulance (not a firetruck) for a cardiac situation.

    Hatzolah has very limited resources. Our prime response areas are not Brighton Beach and Coney Island, almost no members live in those areas. Therefore we will give out the call, but if there is no response after a few tries we will call the system. We usually do get at least a 1st responder to stabilize until EMS arrives.

    As for the guy who said that it took 15 minutes for Hatzolah to arrive, I would guess the call was in one of the above mentioned areas.

    I’ve dispatched many overnight shifts and although there might be some delay, 15 minutes for a Code1 call is unheard of.

    In the last year we have night shifts in the Flatbush and Boro Park areas which drastically brought down the overnight response time. This is not a secret, every buff with a scanner can attest to that.

  8. Why whenever the goyim do something good, there is someone to knock it. It smells like Hatzolah is jealous of EMS because HNBNY had to knock them when they did something good. I wonder how many members H has that don’t mean l’shem shamayim? If this guy is from the top -I can just imagine what’s at the bottom of the totem pole. You really don’t belong in H- trying to do chesed- if it’s all about jealousy for the goyim. If they can’t clean themselves up (which obviously they can’t) why don’t our rabbonim do something? Maybe our Rabbonim are too busy getting up to say Birchas Hachama which is only a d’rabbonim and saving lives is a d’oraysah. I personally think they should cut out 90-95% of their members and the rest should get paid. Maybe this would cut out the hefkierous that I constantly witness from this org.