First responder experience hazards on the job because of heroin

Parma first responders take new measures to confront heroin crisis

PARMA, OH (WOIO) - When a person overdoses, it's the first responders who are not only saving that life, but putting their own lives at risk.

Parma firefighter T. J. Martin says, these days, they don't take any chances.

"Our first priority is saving the lives of our community. If we can't do that, if we're unable to do that, we become a victim and we can't do any good," he said.

Fentanyl, opioids and heroin, these are just some of the drugs first responders are exposed to frequently while on duty and the drugs are making their jobs more dangerous.

Martin says just last week, a Parma Police Officer was exposed.

"The officer was on a felony drug stop, doing a physical stop in the car when he came across some heroin and it became airborne unbeknownst to him and he did inhale some of it and he did in fact need Narcan to relieve the effects of the heroin/car fetanyl."

The city of Parma has had 25 Overdose Deaths in the last 18 months.

Last month Councilwoman Kristin Saban held a 'grass roots' safety gathering where many talked about the toll it's taking on the community.

"I'm telling you, this drug is impacting all ages and all different types, it's very difficult," said one officer.

Every Parma truck is stocked with gloves and masks, including body isolation kits.

One of the goals is to prepare for unknown so that they can continue saving lives.

Copyright 2018 WOIO. All rights reserved.