Friday, November 18, 2016
Starting in January, 2017, all fire trucks in Oakville will carry lifesaving EpiPens to treat people experiencing severe allergic reactions. Council approved the staff recommendation at Monday night’s meeting.
An Epinephrine Auto Injector, or EpiPen, administers Epinephrine to relax airway muscles so a person can breathe easier. It also helps reverse the rapid and dangerous decrease in blood pressure.
“In an emergency our firefighters are often the first to arrive on scene, and having EpiPens available on the fire trucks means those suffering from an anaphylactic medical emergency will get the help they need prior to the arrival of paramedics,” said Oakville Fire Chief, Brian Durdin. “In some cases, the timing of the injection can mean the difference between life and death.”
In an anaphylactic medical emergency every second counts and it’s critical that epinephrine be administered immediately. Since 2010 Oakville firefighters have been trained to use EpiPens if they are available at the scene of an emergency. By having all fire trucks carry EpiPens, this valuable lifesaving tool will always be available to treat a patient experiencing a severe allergic reaction.
Approximately 13,700 people in Oakville suffer from severe, life-threating allergies according to the Canadian Anaphylaxis Initiative, a network of families working with government to raise awareness of the issue. Even more alarming is that people are often not aware they have a severe allergy. Of the 80 anaphylactic deaths recorded in Ontario from 1986 to 2011, 41 per cent had no known allergy.