Ottawa's fifteen hundred firefighters will be carrying Naloxone kits by the end of June.

Ottawa's fire chief says training will begin next week with the focus first on firefighters working in the downtown core.

This has become a hot issue for Ottawa's firefighters, many of whom were frustrated, watching the spike in opioid overdoses and deaths and not able to administer a potentially life-saving treatment.

Earlier this year, for instance, firefighters were first on the scene when a Kanata teen died of an overdose.  Naloxone can revive overdose victims but at this point, paramedics are the only first responders in the city who carry the kits.  That will change as of next week when the first group of firefighters begins training. 

“Iunderstand that some firefighters have been impatient,” says Ottawa Fire Chief Jerry Pingatore, “and have been questioning why it has taken so long when the lay person can get them over the counter. But, the majority will understand how complex it is to train fifteen hundred firefighters and to the degree and level of training, as well.”

The firefighters will be using a nasal spray, not the injection which the paramedics use.  That will give them a chance to use it on themselves if they come into contact with Fentanyl and will also lay the groundwork for paramedics to take over with a patient when they arrive. The Fire Chief expects to have all 15-hundred trained by the end of June.  Pingatore says it will be the largest group of firefighters in the province, so far, to carry the kits.