A Michigan State Police trooper was possibly exposed to fentanyl during a traffic stop search near Detroit. The trooper and his partner were conducting a search on a potential narcotics suspect and his vehicle when "the trooper began to feel lightheaded, nauseous and had an unsteady balance." Luckily, Narcan was in the patrol vehicle's first aid kit and after a trip to the hospital, the trooper was expected to return to his next shift.

Protecting First Responders Exposed to Fentanyl and Other Illicit Drugs

This is becoming a more and more common issue for police officers around Michigan and the rest of the country. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pharmaceutical fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone increased over 16% from 2018 to 1029. Current guidance for Michigan State Police for officers who find an unrecognized white powder is to wear protective masks and rubber gloves, ensure the presence of 2 officers, and have Narcan on hand in case of exposure.

Santaquin Ambulance

Guidance from NIOSH

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health admits that the CDC does not have data on illicit drug exposure for workers that may come in contact with them and that there is no consensus on exposure limits. Absent established federal guidelines, NIOSH developed recommendations for "Preventing Emergency Responders' Exposure to Illicit Drugs, Including Fentanyl" based on reported toxicity and the chemical and physical properties of fentanyl and other illicit drugs.

PAPR Protection for Public Safety Responders Exposed to Fentanyl

A review of the "Personal protective equipment recommendations for protection against illicit drugs including fentanyl" table shows that in some cases, full SCBA respiratory protection is warranted. In most cases, however, sufficient protection is provided by a PAPR equipped with a high efficiency filter, elastomeric face pieces, or disposable N100/R100/P100FFR masks. It is worth noting that they recommend Pre-Hospital Patient Care workers and Law Enforcement Officers on Routine Duties do not even enter areas where there is a high exposure level.

The thing is, we know better. Police and EMS teams on the front lines don't always have the luxury of understanding exposure levels of the places their jobs take them. The very nature of responding to emergencies means they could be putting their lives on the line when responding to any call. It may be true that under ideal conditions, only certain police forces "should" have protection made available to them, but it is our responsibility to plan for protection in less than ideal conditions.

PAPR - Comprehensive Universal Protection Without Fit Testing (or Shaving)

We think that an RPB PAPR with Face Seal Hood (or shoulder shroud) may be an ideal solution for first responders and police officers who suspect they could be exposed to illicit drugs:

  1. Comprehensive Protection - NIOSH recommends a Powered Air Purifying Respirator (PAPR) equipped with a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. The Best-In-Class HEPA filters in RPB's PAPR removes particulates 99.7% of particulates down to 0.12 microns and are OSHA APF 1000 compliant.
  2. Universal Protection - RPB's loose fit respirators provide protection without annual fit test procedures. Unlike tight fitting disposable masks and elastomeric face pieces, a clean shave is not required for complete protection.
  3. Less Confusing Option - NIOSH recommends N100, R100 or P100FFR face masks. Over the past year, we've been told to use N95, KN95s and other masks for protection. This seems like an unfortunate thing to think about when the focus should be on public safety.
  4. Easily Operated Option - The RPB PAPR couldn't be easier to use and maintain. It has an intuitive LED user interface with warning lights and alarms that warn you when your protection is potentially compromised. 
  5. Easily Accessed Option - Our PAPR kits are compact, fit easily in a squad car trunk or ambulance storage compartments. Select the kits that include a carry-all duffel for a self contained respiratory protection kit at the ready.
  6. Quickly Donned and Doffed - Watch this video to see first responders put on their respirators in a matter of seconds.



Public Safety PAPRs from X1 Safety - Made in American and in Stock Now

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The PX5 PAPR® is the culmination of more than 40 years of developing innovative industrial respiratory protection solutions. Meticulously designed for long days in grueling conditions, these lightweight respirators are unmatched in comfort and include a long-life battery that lasts 8-12+ hours per charge.

X1 Safety and RPB - Made in Detroit

In Stock, Ships Within 24 Hours - RPB has added staffing, increased production capacity, and is working closely with domestic suppliers and regulators to keep up with unprecedented demand for respiratory PPE in 2021.

A Phone Call Away - X1 Safety's focus on brands like RPB, National Safety Apparel, Moldex, and others creates an opportunity for us to help overcome product recalls and lengthy lead times caused by instability in international supply chains. Our dedicated account managers pride themselves on answering calls or returning them within an hour.

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