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Town of Niagara officers to be trained in using Narcan

TOWN OF NIAGARA – Town police officers are to be trained to administer Narcan, an antidote for opiate overdoses, following a recent incident in which emergency medical responders took an estimated 23 minutes to arrive.

Police Chief James Suitor told the Town Board on Wednesday that his officers were at a reported overdose on Feb. 24 on Porter Road where the victim had stopped breathing and was in “a life-threatening situation.”

Officers at the scene were told by Niagara County dispatchers that an emergency vehicle from Rural/Metro Medical Services was at the South Grand Island Bridge and was on its way. Because Rural/Metro had accepted the call, no other emergency responders were involved, Suitor said.

Usually, he said, officers do not administer medical treatment because “we should always have a medical rig in the town” with a paramedic on board, according to the agreement with Rural/Metro.

However, because of the emergency condition of the victim, “an officer had access to a kit and revived” the individual. According to the report, the officers at the scene administered two vials of the Narcan nasal spray and helped the victim’s breathing with a manual resuscitator. The victim was then transported to Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center for observation.

When the Rural/Metro vehicle arrived, police officers said the ambulance employee stated the crew actually had to come from Austin Street in Buffalo, near the Thruway.

“We tend to be turning them (the officers) into EMTs,” Suitor explained. No date for the training was discussed.

Supervisor Lee Wallace said the relationship between the town and Rural/Metro has been “a problem for awhile.” The company is “not fulfilling its contractual obligations in a number of ways,” he said.

No representatives of Rural/Metro were at the work session.

Town Attorney Michael Risman noted that the contract with Rural/Metro had expired and the two sides are trying to negotiate a new one.

“We’re reaching out to other options because it’s been an issue,” Wallace told the board.

In another matter, the board appears ready to have a splash pad installed at Veterans Community Park for this season.

The splash pad would be built by Vortex Aquatic Playgrounds at a cost of $278,000, which would be funded through the town’s share of money from the Niagara County Greenway Commission.

The splash pad would feature several activities for children with numerous water-spraying devices, including a dumping bucket, pirate ship and other imaginative themes. The pad, which would be surrounded by a fence, would be installed next to the playground. Water would not be recycled but would be drawn from the water main.

Wallace said although the town is not obligated to have a lifeguard on duty there, one would be stationed at the splash pad when it is open.

The construction contract for the splash pad is expected to be approved at the Town Board’s meeting Tuesday.