New Illicit Drug Tool-Kit for First Responders

Source: Dmytro Sidelnikov - 123RF

First Responders are often on the frontlines after calls for help where illicit drugs may be present.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) last month released a new virtual Tool-Kit and provides resources to help keep these workers safe when arriving on scene where illicit drugs, including fentanyl, are present or suspected to be present.

First responders are at risk of

  • Inhalation;
  • Mucous membrane contact through the nose, eye, and mouth;
  • Ingestion; and
  • Dermal and needlestick exposure to these drugs.

To help understand these risks and be better prepared for response, the new Tool-Kit includes two training videos, perfect for roll call, developed in collaboration with the Fredericksburg, VA Police and Fire Departments, and the FBI Laboratory.

Resources also include infographics and postcards based on NIOSH recommendations for how First Responders can protect themselves from exposure to illicit drugs.

Among other recommendations, the resources highlight how to best assess the scene for hazards that may indicate the presence of illicit drugs.

They also illustrate what personal protective equipment to wear and how first responders should decontaminate themselves and their equipment.

The materials also provide guidance on how to prevent take-home exposure in order to protect the families of first responders who may have been exposed.