By: Keon Karimabady, Equipment Officer, 2015-2016
Last spring, VCEMS was officially recognized by New York State as a non-transporting basic life support agency – a goal of countless past executive boards. In the past, VCEMS patient care was limited since we were not authorized to carry certain medications – even though our EMTs are certified to administer them. Starting in the fall, new drug trainings will expand the breadth and quality of VCEMS patient care. The main drugs carried by EMS agencies are albuterol, Epi-Pens, and, in some states, Narcan.
Albuterol is indicated for difficulty breathing associated with asthma and is generally administered with a meter dose inhaler. Albuterol is a bronchodilator and achieves its desired effect by widening the air passages leading to the lungs. Possible side effects include hypertension, tachycardia, anxiety and restlessness.
Epi-Pens, or epinephrine auto-injectors, are used to treat severe allergic reactions. Epinephrine is a hormone involved in the body’s “fight or flight” response. Like albuterol, epinephrine is a bronchodilator and alleviates difficulty breathing secondary to airway inflammation. Epinephrine is injected directly into the muscle and has side effects similar to albuterol.
VCEMS is actively training in preparation for the new medications, although there is more groundwork to be done agency recognition is definitely a step in the right direction.