N.Y. village hires medic to help fire department

He was hired part-time as a "controlled substance agent" to help a fire department ALS provider meet a state mandate that requires all EMTs have the ability to administer narcotics

By Denise M. Bonilla

LINDENHURST, N.Y. — The Village of Lindenhurst has hired a paramedic with controlled substance expertise to assist the fire department in meeting a new state mandate.

The hiring of Justin Krause was approved at a recent village board meeting. Krause, an emergency medical technician for Stony Brook University, was hired part-time as a "controlled substance agent/paramedic" at a rate of $23 per hour.

The Lindenhurst Fire Department is certified as an advanced life support provider, with EMTs and paramedics who can assist different types of patients to a higher degree than in basic emergency service, said Chief Michael McCloud. "Any EMT can handle someone with a broken ankle," he said. "But when you have cardiac arrests and allergic reactions, there are other medications that we can use that the basic EMT can't use."

The state has now mandated that if a department is going to be an ALS provider, EMTs must have the ability to administer narcotics, McCloud said. These drugs include morphine and Valium, which can be used for treating cardiac arrests and seizures, respectively, he said.

McCloud said Krause was hired not only for his certification in administering narcotics, but also because he has set the program up for other departments.

"We're volunteers, we're novices at this," he said. "He brings a lot of experience to the table."

The narcotics will be kept in safes in both the firehouse and the ambulances. Each member of the department will have to enter a personal code to access the drugs, McCloud said.

The total cost of implementing the program is about $30,000, McCloud said. He said there are about 65 ALS departments in Suffolk County that are working to come into compliance with the mandate, which goes into effect in April.


©2014 Newsday

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