What You Need To Know About Fentanyl Protective ClothingJune 23, 2020
Fentanyl is a pharmaceutical drug in the class of drugs called Opioids. It ‘s used in operating rooms and to control pain after surgery. It’s also prescribed for advanced cancer patients to relieve pain. It’s a powerful pain killer. In fact, it’s more powerful than morphine, oxycodone, and buprenorphine and 50 times stronger than heroin. It can be dangerous when used appropriately. If you overdose it, combine it with other medications or drink alcohol when using it, it could compromise your respiratory function and result in death. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 67,367 Fentanyl drug overdose deaths occurred in the U.S. in 2018 alone. And someone dies every 11 minutes of Fentanyl overdose in the country.
Fentanyl has received a lot of media attention in the past few years because of its newfound use in the illicit drug market. Unfortunately, greedy drug dealers who have no regard to life mix this potent substance with heroin and sell to unsuspecting users who overdose it. Also, drug addicts use this substance to get high quickly. This has increased the number of people needing help and treatment. According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people who interact with suspects or victims of Fentanyl overdose during their routine job duties or facilities that store this substance are more likely to be exposed to it. Exposure to this drug can be harmful. In fact, it can have the same effects as someone who overdoses on it.
Who is at risk of Fentanyl exposure?
Emergency Medical Services Providers (EMS), such as first responders and private health companies that handle people suspected of Fentanyl overdose.
Law enforcement: Law enforcement officers who maintain law and order on a day-to-day basis
Investigation and evidence handling personnel: Law enforcement personal or individuals responsible for carrying out investigations related to Fentanyl are also at risk of Fentanyl exposure. Some of the tasks that may expose them to Fentanyl include executing search warrants, as well as collecting, transporting and storing Fentanyl evidence.
How emergency responders, law enforcement and other people can get exposed to Fentanyl
Fentanyl can be in powder, pill or liquid form. Emergency responders and law enforcement agents can get exposed to Fentanyl by inhalation, ingestion, touching nose, eyes, and mouth with contaminated hands or gloves. Their skin can absorb liquid Fentanyl, or a needle exposed to the drug can accidentally strike them.
Therefore, it’s important that emergency responders, law enforcement personnel, and other people at risk of exposure wear personal protective equipment before handling these victims. Luckily, there are many companies like International Enviroguard that manufacture a wide range of personal protective equipment, including Fentanyl protective clothing to help these groups of people protect themselves.
What type of Fentanyl protective clothing should emergency responders wear?
When choosing Fentanyl Protective Clothing for emergency responders, you should know the job category and the anticipated potential level of exposure. Here are the potential level exposures to know;
- Minimal potential exposure level
This is where emergency responders respond to a suspected presence of Fentanyl but no evidence of the presence of the product is available. A typical example is, an emergency medical team responding to a suspected Fentanyl overdose. It could also be a law enforcement team responding to a tip on Fentanyl drug overdose victim but not physically available on the scene.
- Moderate potential exposure level
This is where emergency responders respond to a situation where Fentanyl is visible in powder or liquid form. An example is an emergency medical team responding to a suspected Fentanyl overdose victim or law enforcement responding to a suspected presence of Fentanyl on the scene in powder or liquid form.
- High potential exposure level
This is where emergency responders respond to reported visibility of Fentanyl in powder or liquid form on a scene. An example is a law enforcement team raiding a verified Fentanyl or Fentanyl-infused drug production, storage or distribution facility.
It’s important to know the potential exposure level upfront in order to choose the right Fentanyl protective clothing and act appropriately.
Example of Fentanyl Protective Clothing
There are many DIY face masks out there, especially in this time of the Covid-19 pandemic. But, those may not fully protect you from Fentanyl exposure because they may not be made of the right material. The recommended face masks for protection against Fentanyl exposure include:
- Disposable surgical masks
Disposable surgical masks are made with 3 play material that effectively filters out all airborne particles. They are also made with soft fit features and have exceptional breathability. They protect users’ nose and mouth from contact with Fentanyl powder, or liquid. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends the use of surgical masks to prevent exposure to Fentanyl and other Opioid-related drugs.
- Washable face masks
They are made of 100% cotton and come with a microbial finish to effectively protect your nose and mount from coming into contact with Fentanyl. The good thing is that they are washable, which makes them economical.
Coveralls with attached hood
First responders and law enforcement agents dealing with situations involving powder or liquid Fentanyl must also protect their arms and legs. The best protective clothing for that is a coverall. This personal protective clothing is designed to protect their arms and legs from contact with Fentanyl powder or liquid. To be effective, it must pass a vertical flame test from relevant a relevant body. It must also be film-based, impermeable, and coated to be able to resist any chemical. Chemical resistance helps to prevent contamination. It should also be flame resistant to protect law enforcement agents in the event of a fire when raiding a Fentanyl-based drug production lab. It should also come with an attached hood to protect your head from Fentanyl exposure.
Hand gloves are vital for first responders handling Fentanyl. The ideal gloves for Fentanyl protection should be at least 5 mils thick, and should not be torn or punctured. Make sure to wash and treat gloves once you’ve used them. Glove color is also important. While everyone has their preference, dark gloves are the best because they help identify or visualize Fentanyl powder residue.
Fentanyl protective clothing should also come along with eyewear, such a Goggle to protect your eyes from exposure to Fentanyl powder or liquid.