The time between a 911 call and the arrival of medics could be four to eight minutes, or in some instances, the difference between life and death.
Medics, firefighters and police officers know that time is of the essence when responding to medical emergencies.
And that’s why the city of Greenwood is providing its parks and other properties such as the city center with epinephrine autoinjectors or EpiPens. EpiPens are used when a person goes into anaphylactic shock.
Anaphylactic shock is a dangerous allergic reaction caused by bee stings or certain foods. EpiPens stop and reverse that allergic reaction.
A state law that went into effect July 1 allows schools and city and state properties, such as parks and government offices, to have EpiPens on site and ready to use in the event of an anaphylactic shock. Each city employee who works where an EpiPen is on hand will go through training to learn how to use them, Greenwood Division Chief of EMS Darin Hoggatt said.
“This is huge,” Hoggatt said. “Situations where you have a lot of people gathered during the summertime at parks or at the pool, if anaphylactic shock is caused by a bee sting, this gives you immediate medical assistance.”
Prior to the law being passed, EpiPens were only prescribed to the person who might need it in the event of an allergic reaction.
Hoggatt said Greenwood emergency medics respond to 30 to 50 calls a year in which a person is going into anaphylactic shock and EpiPens have to occasionally be used.
EpiPens will be readily available at the Greenwood Community Center, the pool, the city center and parks buildings, Hoggatt said.
Greenwood Parks and Recreation Director Rob Taggart said the addition of EpiPens to parks and Freedom Springs is vital.
Prior to EpiPens, automated external defibrillators, or AED, were the most recent lifesaving medical technology made available to the public. AEDs are used for an individual who has gone into cardiac arrest and are available on city grounds and schools, where EpiPens will soon be.
Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers said the addition of EpiPens is another opportunity to further educate and train city employees in first aid.
Since 2011, Hoggatt said, he has trained more than 100 city employees in CPR and first aid.
“Personal safety training is of utmost importance to me,” Myers said. “I think every employee should have the opportunity to learn first aid and CPR. EpiPens is another way for us to respond quickly, along with AEDs, in all our buildings.”