Fire 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)