The La Crosse Fire Department has been accepted into the Wisconsin Department of Health's Naloxone (Narcan) pilot program.
La Crosse firefighters made the announcement via Twitter (@LaXFirefighters) on Friday morning.
The pilot program gives EMTs and La Crosse firefighters the opportunity to administer Narcan, a drug hailed as an overdose antidote, on-scene without waiting for paramedics to arrive.
The Wisconsin Department of Health has sent a training packet and protocol to the La Crosse Fire Department and their medical director, Dr. Christopher Eberlein to set up training dates in January. February 1 is the department's target date for putting Narcan in-service.
“It will be a great opportunity to showcase our members’ skills,” La Crosse firefighters said.
Tri-State Ambulance paramedics have already been authorized to use Narcan. In October 2013, Tri-State told News 8 they were on track to use Narcan 200 times that year.
La Crosse Fire Assistant Chief Warren Thomas told News 8 as heroin use spikes in La Crosse and across the state, equipping more first responders to use Narcan is a necessary step in battling the epidemic.
"Honestly, I don't know the number off the top of my head, unfortunately in the last few years, it's gone up, though it does happen, we've had the ability or need to use Narcan in this case," said Frank Garritano, a La Crosse Fire department EMS trainer.