Buffalo firefighters begin carrying overdose antidote Narcan

May 20, 2014

All of the Buffalo Fire Department's first response apparatus have been outfitted with kits of the life-saving overdose drug Narcan. Shortly after its rollout, the drug was used to save the life of a man overdosing on heroin.

Fire Commissioner Garnell Whitfield says all field personnel are now qualified to administer the antidote, which comes in the form of a nasal spray. First responders nationwide have begun carrying Narcan to help the growing number of people addicted to prescription painkillers and heroin.

Fire Commissioner Garnell Whitfield and Lt. Rick Hanes-Stetter show the Narcan kits now equipped on department vehicles.
Credit Chris Caya/WBFO News

Whitfield says the drug was used Monday night for the first time by firefighters responding to a call on Seventh Street where they found a man with "very shallow respirations."

"They began managing the airway and decided that he met the criteria for administering the Narcan. It was administered and within three to five minutes, he regained consciousness, was able to communicate effectively with them, admitted the use of heroin, and was transported to the hospital," Whitfield said Tuesday.

Whitfield says the Buffalo Fire Department is "extremely excited" about the opportunity to provide the community with the life-saving drug. He says the kits contain two doses and cost the city about $50 each.

Buffalo Police Officers began carrying Narcan a few months ago.